Games 7s are always the most exciting game in hockey, and tonight we get just that. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings take to the ice in a game that will decide who moves on to the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs. It was home sweet home for the Lightning in the regular season, but in this series against the Red Wings it almost feels like they would be better off playing in Detroit. The Lightning only lost nine games all year at home and the Red Wings have been able to beat them on two occasions at home in Tampa already. A win tonight for the Wings would give them yet another over Tampa on the road. But I don’t know if this time is going to be that easy. They defied the odds by beating the Lightning in game 5 and could do it again tonight. Will they do it is the ultimate question we all want to know.
The thing about the Lightning is that their best player hasn’t even really shown up yet to play and they are in a spot where they can move on. If Steven Stamkos had his game in gear, this series could have probably been over by now. It has been Tyler Johnson who has been the saving grace for the Lightning. He clearly wants to be there and clearly wants to win this series. He potted a couple more goals in the last matchup in Detroit and was the best player for the Lightning on the ice again. A little Stamkos added to the equation would be big for Tampa. Is he can going to finally show up tonight for the Lightning in game 7? Note that he doesn’t have a goal yet. I have a suspicion that he breaks out of that funk and shows up tonight. Will it be enough to capture a win and advance to the second round? I provide my thoughts below and provide my pick for game 7 between the Red Wings and Lightning tonight.
Detroit Red Wings @ Tampa Bay Lightning
Like I have said on countless occasions throughout this series, one can’t expect the Red Wings to be down and out when they have Mike Babcock as their head coach. Babcock will need to find some more magic to get his team to the next round. If the Wings lose this game, it could very well be the last game for him as the head coach in Detroit. Definitely something to think about if you’re a Red Wings fan. Babcock and the Wings will be shorthanded as they enter game 7 tonight, as Niklas Kronwall won’t be suiting up. The NHL handed out a suspension to Kronwall, the best member of the blue line that the Wings have, due to a brutal hit against a Lightning player. Kronwall left his skates and connected to the head, which immediately prompted an investigation from the NHL. There was no call on the play, but the suspension may be crippling to the Red Wings chances here tonight. It most definitely is a big blow for the Wings.
The Lightning were the best home team in the NHL during the regular season at 33-9, they haven’t shown it. Stamkos was one of the best players in the NHL during the regular season, he hasn’t shown it. Tonight I think we see both, and see the Lightning move to the 2nd round of the playoffs. The Red Wings had their opportunity to end this series back in Detroit but failed to do so. There is juice on the Lightning, but at this point, you just have to pick what team you think is going to win the game, so you can’t really look at value in this respect. I will be taking the Lightning to win game 7 tonight over the Red Wings. Don’t up your unit size too much due to the bigger price, stay committed to your bankroll.
PICK: LIGHTNING TO WIN -183 5DIMES – BEST ODDS