TB Has Been Inconsistent On The Road

The Tampa Bay Lightning will look for a commanding 3-0 lead when their series with the Detroit Red Wings shifts to Joe Louis Arena Sunday. The Bolts will need to face their road demons that have caused the team to falter to an erratic 4-6-0 while travelling since the start of March.

After the first game of the series was too close for the Lightning’s comfort, they took it to the Wings in Game 2 with a final score of 5-2. Tyler Johnson has been unstoppable with two goals and four assists through the first two games of the series.

If the Red Wings want to try and extend their season, they will need to see their best players actually score. Henrik Zetterberg has one goal in the past 26 games, Gustav Nyquist has one goal in the past 16 and Pavel Datsyuk has not scored in the past 12 outings.

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Expect Goals Between Ducks, Preds

Offense has not been hard to come by when the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators, as the OVER has cashed in nine of their past 11 meetings, with pushes accounting for the other two. The Ducks and Preds will continue their playoff series Sunday night at The Pond.

The Predators shocked more than a couple pundits by knocking off the Ducks in the first game of the series. It was the kind of play we have come to expect from the Preds, as it was a team effort and no one individual player that stood out in the win.

The start of Game 1 was certainly something to forget for the Ducks, as they came out sluggish and were beat for most of the first period. Anaheim had 20 turnovers, compared to forcing the Predators into just 11 in that outing.

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Barclays Center Not Exactly Kind To NYI

After splitting the first two games in their series with the Florida Panthers, the New York Islanders head back home hoping for better results in front of their friendly fans than they have recently been accustomed to. Since the start of April, the Isles are just 1-2-1 at the Barclays Center while allowing four goals per game.

John Tavares’ third period goal in Game 2 extended his point streak to six games, as the All-Star has notched six goals and seven assists in the Islanders’ past six outings. Tavares has shed his regular season struggles against the Panthers that saw him put up just one assist in three games.

After an up-and-down performance in Game 1, Roberto Luongo had a fantastic second outing in the series with 41 saves on 42 shots. Though it is unlikely to affect the veteran, it is interesting to note that Luo has never played a game in his career at the Barclays Center.

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Penguins Ruling Rangers So Far in 2016

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the hottest team in hockey right now with just two losses in their past 17 games. The Pens turned on their game for the New Year and that includes dominating the New York Rangers with wins in four of the five meeting between the clubs since January 1. Pittsburgh and New York will take to the ice Saturday afternoon for Game 2 of their opening round playoff series.

Rangers’ fans wait with baited breath to hear the status of Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist suffered an eye injury in the first period of Game 1 and missed the remainder of contest and has been officially declared a game-time decision for Saturday. The dropoff between Lundqvist and backup Antti Raanta is pretty severe, as the Finnish netminder allowed three goals on 19 shots to finish Game 1.

The Penguins also feature a large contingency of players that are injured, but could make their return any day now.  Both Marc-Andre Fluery and Evgeni Malkin skated Friday and could be due back on the ice soon, but the Pens may also opt to not risk any potential damage when they are up in a series.

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Flyers Have Fantastic Bounce Back Ability

It may have shocked some just how close the Philadelphia Flyers managed to keep Game 1 against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, but the Broad Street Bullies may be in an even better spot for Game 2 Saturday. The Flyers are 9-2 SU in their past 11 games coming off a loss while averaging 3.7 goals per game in those outings.

Braden Holtby has been stellar in his past two outings, as the Veznia hopeful has allowed just one goal on 39 shots in his past 120 minutes of play. Holtby has been his usual stellar self against the Flyers this season, as the Capitals goalie is 3-0-2 with a 1.80 goals against average against Philly this season (playoffs included).

If the Flyers really want to put up a fight against the Capitals, they will need to play better on the powerplay. Philly is 3-for-21 with the man advantage in their past six games, with all three of those goals coming in one game.

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LA Hopes To End SJ's Road Supremacy

The San Jose Sharks took a tight Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, with another road victory continuing the teams domination on the road. San Jose is now 8-1 SU in their past nine road games while holding opponents to just 1.4 goals per game.

If the Kings want to get through the first round, they will need Jonathan Quick to perform better than he has against the Sharks. Quick has faced off against San Jose four times this season (including playoffs), with the netminder going 0-4 with a 4.25 goals against average and a .841 save percentage.

Joe Pavelski continued his offensive onslaught in Game 1 when he had two goals. With that performance, Pavelski now has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in the Shark’s past 13 games. 

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Wild Need To End Drastic Losing Streak

The Minnesota Wild are the coldest team in the NHL playoffs, as the club has lost six-straight games while being outscored 20-6. If Minny wants to extend their season they will need to perform better in their Round 1 series against the Dallas Stars, wich sees Game 2 taking place Saturday.

In order for the Wild to even think about beating the Stars, they will need to figure out Kari Lehtonen. In his past eight starts, Lehtonen is 7-1 with a 1.76 goals against average and a .932 save percentage with two shutouts.

Minnesota will also need to find some sort of secondary scoring with both Thomas Vanek and Zach Parise, who were second and third on the team in points in the regular season, both out with injuries. Luckily for the Wild, they will have shutdown center Erick Haula back after he missed Game 1 with an injury. Haula’s main assignment will be containing Jamie Benn, who had three points in the first game.

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Trends Point Towards a Win for Lightning

Kucherov Tampa Bay Lighting

The Lightning will attempt to jump out to a 2-0 series lead over the visiting Red Wings tonight and look to continue a trend that’s seen them win six straight against the Wings when the teams play in Florida.

Another trend working in Tampa’s favor is winning games that they’re supposed to, as they’ve now gone 7-1 in their last eight games as favorites. Online sportsbook Bodog has them at -160 tonight with Detroit coming back at +130.

Something working against the Wings (and their hopes for a run in the playoffs) is their recent record against teams with winning records, as they’ve now lost five straight in that spot. If you think I’m piling up on Detroit, you’re 100% correct, because so many recent trends point to Tampa Bay, including their 5-1 record in their last six games after winning the previous game in a matchup.

The first game in the series was a tightly contested one that saw Detroit rack up 36 shots to Tampa’s 34. Unless they want to go back to Detroit in a two-game hole, the Wings’ power play will have to wake up after going 0-5 in Game 1.

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Hawks’ Struggles Vs Central Continues

Corey Crawford Chicago Blackhawks St. Louis Blues NHL

During the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks were not at their best versus teams from within the Central Division. Those struggles continued in Game 1 of their playoff series versus the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night, but the Hawks will try to pull even at one game apiece as the series resumes Friday night in St. Louis.

Shark Bites
  • The Blackhawks are 3-9 SU in their last 12 games in St. Louis.
  • The Blues are 8-2 SU in their previous 10 games versus teams with a winning record.
  • The Blues are 8-0 SU in their last eight games versus the Western Conference.

Online Bovada is presently offering the Blues at -125 in moneyline markets while the Blackhawks come in at -105. The total is set at 5 with OVER -110 and UNDER -120.

The Game 1 loss extended a depressing run against the Central division for the Blackhawks. The Hawks have gone just 2-10 SU in their previous 12 games versus the division; a run that dates all the way back to early February.

David Backes scored in overtime to break a 0-0 deadlock in Game 1 as the Blues continued to be a shutout machine. Brian Elliott stopped 35 shots to post his fourth shutout in his last nine starts overall.

Corey Crawford did everything he could at the other end of the ice as he stopped 17 of 18 shots in the opener, but came up short as a Backes pass deflected off of Trevor van Riemsdyk’s skate in front of the unsuspecting Crawford.

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Predators Slumping Away From Home

Shea Weber Nashville Predators Corey Perry Anaheim Ducks NHL

Nashville pays a visit to Anaheim on Friday, hoping to shut down the Ducks snipers in hockey action at Honda Center.

The Anaheim Ducks sport a record of 46-25-11 heading into this matchup, while the Nashville Predators sit at 41-27-14 on the season. The OVER/UNDER records are 32-34-16 for the Ducks and 33-32-17 for the Predators.

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