Things are looking great for the red hot Tampa Bay Lightning, as they have won four NHL betting battles in a row and are primed to take a 2-0 series lead on the road in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, the Washington Capitals won’t be laying down quite so easily and should be up for a great fight at the Verizon Center for Game 2 on Sunday night.
Give Dwayne Roloson a ton of credit for the way that he has played in these playoffs. The former New York Islanders castoff has a tremendous 1.80 GAA, and it could be argued that he is the most valuable player in the entire postseason to date. Roli has faced more shots than his rival goaltenders in all eight games in the playoffs, and he has practically stood on his head to get the job done. It was great to see Steven Stamkos make another appearance on the stat sheet in Game 1, something that could really prove to pay dividends later in this series. The Stammer never really got his feet wet against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, as he really only had one great game. However, his power play goal at 19:28 of the second period proved to be the game winner and the backbreaker to the Caps. Martin St. Louis might not have found his way onto the stat sheet, but Vincent LeCavalier certainly did with a pair of assists.
Alexander Ovechkin classified the Game 1 loss as one that was “too pretty,” and that probably means that there are a heck of a lot more slashes, elbows, forearms, and checks coming to the Lightning stars in Game 2. Ovie was kept off of the board in Game 1, but one of his line mates for most of the season, Alexander Semin wasn’t. Semin scored the first Washington goal of the game early in the first period. Eric Fehr was the other goal scorer. Part of the issue is going to be the play of Michal Neuvirth, as he really doesn’t know what it is like to be playing a series from behind like this. The first year postseason goaltender hasn’t played all that poorly in the playoffs, as he is now 4-2 with a 1.62 GAA, one of the best amongst net minders in the second season regardless of conference. The problem though, is the three goals that he has allowed in three of his last four starts, a number which is going to cut it for as well as Roloson has been playing during these playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Pick: This is a great price at +170 on the Lightning, but sometimes in the playoffs, you just have to go with your gut and take the team that you really think is going to win the game regardless of the NHL odds. This is one of these spots. We just don’t see the Caps going back to the Sunshine State down 0-2. Take Washington -180.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.