The Eastern Conference Finals moves to the sunshine state in Florida, as the Pens and Lightning are squared up at one game apiece after a split in Pittsburgh. That is all the Lightning really wanted to accomplish on the road, but they were really close to finding another win in Game 2. The Penguins were the better team, yet the Lightning were one shot away in overtime from coming home to Florida with a 2-0 series lead. Ouch, that really would have put the Penguins up against a wall. The Lightning still did what they aimed to do, however, the series would have been within arm’s reach if they captured both wins in Pittsburgh. Now the Pens have life, and Sidney Crosby might have been rejuvenated after ripping home the overtime winner. Ben Bishop sat out while Andrei Vasilevskiy did the honors in net. There wasn’t much he could have done on the Crosby shot, as he was left out to dry and Crosby made no mistake.
It appears that Bishop will be a game-time decision again tonight. I think that’s going to be the story from the Lightning before he comes back. They’re going to keep the Penguins guessing and not going to reveal their cards. Although, it doesn’t make much of a difference for the Penguins’ game plan one way or another. If Crosby gets going it’s going to be difficult on the Lightning, but it’s yet to be seen if his overtime winner gets the wheels turning a bit more. If he floats around and doesn’t get involved on the offensive end, I don’t know, the Lightning could stretch this series out. I don’t have a series bet on this series, so all I care about at the moment is who will win tonight. The Lightning stole home ice advantage, let’s see if they take advantage. Both series are knotted at 1-1 as they switch destinations.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Playoffs Pick
The Penguins outshot the Lightning 35-20 in Game 1, but as I mentioned in my last article for this series, they didn’t generate many scoring chances. They were harmless shots that were easy to handle. However, I will say, the Pens were the aggressors and dominated the last frame, outshooting the Lightning by a mark of 15-6. Again, the Penguins were the aggressors in Game 2 and severely outshot the Lightning as well as out hitting them. In the first two games, the Pens have put 76 shots on net to the Lightning’s 41 shots. The Pens toiled with the Bolts just like in Game 1, out-shooting them 16-6. Vasilevskiy should get some major credit for how he’s handled the situation. This series could have gotten out of control if he wasn’t ready to perform.
The Penguins have been successful on the road in the playoffs. Note that they won the first two games of round 1 against the Rangers, and say what you want about the Rangers, but they are a good team at home. In total they are 3-1-1 on the road. During the regular season they went 25-16-4. I am not so sure the Pens have a sizable disadvantage playing in Tampa the next two games. I took the Pens to win in regulation for my last bet. It was a lose-lose situation any way you look at the game betting wise. Look at it this way, the total was a wash, the Lightning bet lost, the Pens in regulation lost, so the only winning bet that night was a ML of -205.
Sorry, but I’m not one of those that likes to lay big juice like that. In a rare circumstance the time may arise, but they weren’t worth -205, and the game going to overtime showed that wasn’t the correct price. Tonight we get a playable price on the Penguins, which I will gladly play. The Penguins have been the much better team in this series, it was a miracle they didn’t pot a couple in the 3rd period in Game 2. The Penguins have handled the road well, so I think we’re getting value on a short price.
PICK: PENGUINS TO WIN -121