March 25, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Hockey Betting:  New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Important game for both teams due to Eastern Conference playoff implications. The New York Islanders have been treading water over the past two weeks (4-4-2 L10 games) and have put themselves into a somewhat tenuous position. They now trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by one point for third place in the Metropolitan Division–and with it a guaranteed playoff berth. For the moment, however, they’re stuck in the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference where they lead second wild card team Philadelphia by 2 points. The Flyers are tied with the Detroit Red Wings at 85 points but hold the tiebreaker. The New Jersey Devils could also be in the mix soon–they’re making a late push for one of the wild card spots.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in second place in the Atlantic Division two points back of interstate rivals Florida. The Bolts and Panthers are in similar form at the moment (5-4-1 L10) and both are getting some spacing over slumping third place Boston (3-5-2 L10) who have lost 5 straight. This game is sort of a bad scheduling spot for Tampa Bay as they host the aforementioned Florida Panthers at the Amalie Arena on Saturday night. As far as this matchup goes, the Islanders won the only previous meeting this year taking a 3-2 verdict here on November 28, 2015.

The Islanders have lost 6 of their last 8 games and that kind of form concerns us as they head into a tough back to back spot against Tampa Bay tonight and at Carolina tomorrow night. Not thrilled about the potential for a Tampa Bay ‘lookahead’ here but the Bolts understand that unless they take care of business here the Saturday home game against Florida diminishes in significance immensely. Overall, Tampa Bay is the better team and particularly on defense where they’ve got the #2 team goals against average in the league. Their power play is a head scratching #26 but they’ve got the edge in net–we’ll take big Ben Bishop over Thomas Greiss any day. For some reason, just don’t like this New York Islanders team whom we expect to make a quick exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs. We’d much rather back the proven playoff commodity of the Lightning.