NHL Hockey Betting: Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings

NHL Hockey Betting:  Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to a ‘desperate’ Detroit Red Wings team the last time out and now they try to get back on the winning track in Game Four of their best of seven first round series. The Wings just wanted it more and swarmed all over a passive Tampa Bay offense limiting them to sixteen shots on goal. That made life easy for Petr Mrazek in a shutout victory–he’s expected to get the start tonight in Jeff Blashill’s ‘scapegoat’ goaltending system with Jimmy Howard relegated to the doghouse. Ben Bishop will be back between the pipes for Tampa Bay–he didn’t play badly in the last game allowing 2 goals on 30 shots but got zero help from his teammates.

One thing that Tampa Bay can take from their loss–the special teams played well. Actually, the power play was 0 for 3 but the penalty kill went 7 for 7. So the moral of the story is that Tampa didn’t push their attack but they defended fairly well. Fans with a long memory (back to last Fall) will recall that profile from the Bolts’ mediocre start to the season. Bishop and the defense played well but the offense did nothing. Hopefully that ugly team isn’t morphing back.

Tampa Bay has won 15 of the last 23 head to head though the Wings have played the Lightning tough in Detroit. Detroit holds a 6-5-0 edge over the past three seasons and dating back to the Paleolithic era the Wings are on a 15-5-1 run in head to head play. The teams split four games during the regular season with the Wings winning the first two while the Lightning struggled and Tampa Bay winning the two most recent games (2/3 and 3/22). Bad news for the Bolts in the situational breakdown–when leading a best of 7 playoff series 2-1 Tampa Bay has a Game Four record of 1-5 and have lost four straight in this spot.

That being said, Tampa Bay is still the better team. If they can get their offense doing anything at all they’ll win this game and close out the series in Tampa in Game Five. The result of the last game notwithstanding, no reason the Wings should be favored here.