March 22, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Hockey Betting:  Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning&h=253&w=372&zc=1

A busy day of NHL action with a number of games that have playoff significance. In this preview we’ll take a look at a very important Eastern Conference battle between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning to be played in the ‘Cigar City’. The Tampa Bay Lightning were until recently one of the hottest teams in hockey but since the end of their 9 game winning streak they’ve lost five of 7 with the only victories coming at Columbus and at Arizona. They even dropped an embarrassing 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs who have the worst record in the NHL. They’re back on home ice at Amalie Arena and really need this win. They’re currently in second place in the Atlantic Division two points behind the plucky Florida Panthers and one point ahead of the third place Boston Bruins. They’re also just two points up on the New York Islanders–who hold down the top Eastern Conference wild card spot–and just three points ahead of their opponent tonight, the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings are in the second Eastern Conference wildcard spot which is also the final playoff spot available. The Wings are the only other team in the Atlantic Division with a realistic shot of making the playoffs but that won’t help them hang on to a wild card spot. The problem is in the Metropolitan Division where there area only two ‘guaranteed’ divisional playoff spots still up for grabs. Washington is 17 points ahead of the second place New York Rangers and already have everything locked up. Detroit’s most immediate concern is the red hot Philadelphia Flyers who are playing out of their minds right now with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. Philly is one point behind Detroit and depending how things shake out tonight could take over the final wild card spot after tonight’s action and leave the Wings–for now at least–on the outside looking in.

In most cases, I prefer to take the price when both teams are in a situation like this. Detroit has played well on the road (18-13-5) but I haven’t been sold on the Wings all year. Statistically, they’re a very mediocre team–14th in goals against average (2.57) and that’s their best statistical category. They’re #22 in goals per game, #21 on the power play and #15 on the kill. Tampa is more legit with much better defense and goaltending (#3 in goals against per game) and the #4 penalty kill in the league.