The Tampa Bay Lightning keep on rolling with the playoffs in their sights. There is no denying that the Lightning are favourites to go to the Stanley Cup Final. They are going to be a popular pick to reach the finals and for good reason. However, everything goes out the window when the playoffs start. Records don’t matter at that point, it’s just the first team to win four games in a seven-game series.
The Lightning most certainly look like a team poised to be able to win a few series. Nevertheless, they face some stiff competition and it’s going to be wide open. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Lightning would be playing the New Jersey Devils, as the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference. I don’t think the Lightning would have any issues getting by the Devils, but it isn’t like anyone thought the Devils would be a playoff team. What about the Golden Knights and Jets? Expect the unexpected in the NHL.
We might have a preview of the first-round tonight, with the Lightning and Devils meeting in New Jersey. If the Lightning take them lightly, that’s going to be the opening the Devils need in the playoffs. Of course, this is if the Devils reach the playoffs and draw the Lightning in the first-round. They’re currently 3 points up on the final wild card and 4 points behind the Flyers for the second wild card, so there is a bit of a gap there. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Devils pick on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. N.J. Devils Pick
The Devils have some underrated talent on their roster, but they do not match-up against the Lightning from a talent perspective. In other words, it’s going to take more for them to upend Tampa. There isn’t a player on the Devils who can contain Kucherov or Stamkos. Playing any of the top four teams in the conference is not going to be an easy task. Who do you want, the Penguins, Capitals, Bruins, or Lightning?
There isn’t an easy way to navigate any of those teams. The Lightning are averaging 3.58 goals per game to exceed any team in the NHL. In their last ten games they’ve scored 4.1 goals per game, but have allowed an anemic 3.9 goals per game. If there is going to be any way to beat the Lightning, it’s going to come down to catching fire on offence. The Bolts are 12th in the league with 2.82 goals allowed per. They’re coming off a wild 7-6 win over the Islanders. They’ve put up 7 goals in two of their last ten games, including three 5 goal games.
The Devils must improve on the defensive end tenfold from their last three outings. They allowed 6 goals to the Sharks, 4 to the Ducks, and 3 against the Penguins. However, they did pick up a nice 4-3 win over the Pens last night. The Devils have allowed at least 3 goals in eight of their last ten games. They were okay offensively with over 3 goals per game. I expect the Lightning offence to shine tonight after the Devils dealt with the Pens last night. In any event, we should get plenty of goals in this game to push it OVER the total.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)