Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins have played fantastic hockey over the first four games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The two will have at it again in Game 5 in what could be the close out game of this series for the Pens at home at Consol Energy Arena.
If Tampa Bay is getting back in this series, someone aside from Martin St. Louis and Dwayne Roloson needs to step up. Roloson stopped 50 shots in Game 4, and he has really been a pillar in the pipes in this series. St. Louis has just been a man child, though. The Lightning have fallen behind 2-0 in both of the last two games, and he had his hands in all four goals that sparked the comebacks in the two outings. However, the big question that NHL betting fans of the Lightning have is where in the heck is Steven Stamkos?!?! The Stammer was really the leader of this offense this season with St. Louis, but the youngster has yet to log a goal, and he really just doesn’t look right on the ice right now. As a result, the Lightning have really become one dimensional offensively, and they really don’t have the look of a team that can win this series. Either Stamkos has to show up to play in Game 5, or a ton of other players need to pick up his production to be able to survive.
The Penguins can taste victory in this series, but they know just how quickly the tide can turn on a seven game set like this one, and they know that Tampa Bay has a very dangerous team that can score goals in bunches. The play of Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid, but it certainly hasn’t been remarkable. He might have been the winning goalie on Wednesday night, but he surely wasn’t the better of the two after having let in two goals on 31 shots in the game in comparison to the 53 shots that Roloson faced. The key for Pittsburgh has been striking first. The team has scored first in this series has won all four games, and that team is also absolutely dominating the postseason as a whole. Arron Asham and Tyler Kennedy have combined for five goals between them, and both are coming off of great games in Tampa Bay. James Neal logged the game winner in double overtime in Game 4, and he could be key for helping the Pens get into the second round of the playoffs as well.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick: We’re just not so sure that we have seen the last of the Lightning. Tampa Bay is the real deal, and it really does have the talent to pull this off. Expect another hard fought battle between these two behemoths, but when push comes to shove, the Lightning +135 is the side to be on for your Stanley Cup picks.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.