After a less than inspiring effort in Tampa Bay, the Red Wings will try and claw back into the series at home. In what is seen as pretty much a must-win scenario, the Wings can draw within 1 in the series with a victory this evening. Jimmy Howard stood on his head to get the Red Wings in the playoffs, and he’ll need to do the same to turn this into a competitive series. The Wings were a hot pick to win this series because of the Stamkos news. That would be too easy, wouldn’t it?
The Lightning are still a good team without Stamkos, no question about it, so I feel people were overreacting a tad there. The Lightning are getting their first look at what life might be like without Stamkos and it played out pretty well for them in game 1 and 2. A win by the Wings here, though, would put the Lightning on notice.
The Wings have been in playoff mode for the last month. It was one big round robin for the Red Wings, and in the end the Bruins were the odd team out. The other team they were trying to fend off was the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers and Red Wings both barely got in, but are down 2-0 in their series and on the ropes.
The Lightning made the finals last season, only to get denied by the Chicago Blackhawks. Without Stamkos in the lineup, we’re going to see what this Lightning team is made of. However, this is allowing other players to show what they can do in a main role. Tyler Johnson made the most of it in game 2, netting 2 goals past Jimmy Howard to lead the Lightning to a 5-2 win. The Red Wings like playing at home, so we’ll see how they respond at the Joe Louis Arena tonight.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL Playoffs Pick
Stamkos’ time as a Lightning might be over with, and on the other side, Pavel Datsyuk may be playing his final games as a Detroit Red Wing. Datsyuk has declared publicly that there is a good chance he’s going to be going to Russia to play for next season. It would leave the salary cap on the Red Wings in disarray. If this is certainly the case, and Datsyuk is leaving, he could at least leave the Wings with some memories from a playoff run this season. He needs to step it up. Zetterberg needs to step it up. Howard needs to catch fire. That is going to be the formula for a series win. And hopefully the effort wears off on the young stars, including Dylan Larkin, and they contribute as well.
The Red Wings should feel much more comfortable at home tonight, a place they went 22-13-6 in the regular season. The home team has gone 7-0 in their last seven meetings, so needless to say, home ice advantage is important with the Wings and Lightning. The Wings have not been home since April 6th against the Flyers, a 3-0 win. Their last four games have been on the road, all losses. I think the Wings will give the team a glimmer of hope with a win tonight. It’s as close to a must-win as you can come. They aren’t going to come back from 3-0. I called a 4-2 series win for Tampa before the series started and I’m sticking with it. The Lightning win the series, but the Wings get a win in game 3.
PICK: RED WINGS TO WIN -120