The Red Wings were looking dead in the water just before the playoffs. After a great run, the Wings stumbled along the and barely ended up making it into the playoffs. They now have one of the best teams in the regular season on the ropes. If the Wings can knock the Lightning out of the first round, and the Rangers do the same to the Penguins, it would mean that arguably the two best players in the NHL will be gone quick. That being Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. Unlike the NBA, it takes more than one elite player to find success. I hope Oilers fans don’t think they have a surefire Stanley Cup coming their way because of Connor McDavid. There is a lot of work left to do there in Edmonton. But back to the Lightning and Wings, where they face off in a pretty critical game tonight at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. It truly is a big game for both teams, as game 4’s mostly are because it provides the turning point in the series most of the time. Lightning tie this up tonight and its all tied up heading back to Florida. Lose and they are going to put themselves in a hole that not many teams in the playoffs can make it out of.
We know this routine from the Lightning by now. Play as one of the best teams in the regular season, and then watch it all go for nothing come playoff time. Looking better than ever this year, are the Lightning going to let that happen to them once again? They’ll have to win tonight to avoid being a game away from another playoff meltdown. Stamkos isn’t going to be in his prime forever and contracts are a temporal thing, so I suggest they take this game fairly seriously tonight. This could be a turning point not just for this series, but for a lot of people in the Lightning organization. A pesky Red Wings team probably isn’t going to just lay down and play dead. Tampa is going to have to bring a good brand of hockey tonight and put their last loss in the past. After tonight it’ll be the Red Wings with a 3-1 lead or knotted up at 2 a piece. Let’s take a look and try and find a winner for tonights pick in the NHL.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Detroit Red Wings
What a guy that Babcock is if his Wings pull this off. Similar to March Madness, there is always an underdog team that makes some noise and frustrates the hell out of the big dogs. However, even though according to seeding the Red Wings are one of those teams, is it appropriate that they can be labeled a cinderella this season if they make it far? A better comparison would be to the Michigan State Spartans basketball team. Tom Izzo and Mike Babcock work just down the road from one another, and coach like they are separated at the hip.
In a lot of games during the playoffs you can throw statistics out the window because it seems like nothing much adds up at the end of the night. Scenario, spot betting, and playing the motivation card works out more effectively. Tonight I think I have to take a look at the Lightning. I can’t see them not being locked in for this game tonight and tying this series up before heading back home. The Lightning finished 1st in the NHL in goal scoring and I think they come with a full onslaught on Mrazek in net. The Lightning were the better team in two of three games in this series. In the first they thoroughly dominated the Wings, no one even Red Wings’ fan can deny that fact. In game 3 the Lightning played about as bad as they could have, I don’t think they make it two straight games in a row playing like that slop. I’ll roll the dice and look for it to land on the Lightning tonight.
PICK: LIGHTNING TO WIN -103 5DIMES – BEST ODDS