NHL Hockey Betting: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Hockey Betting:  New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Two NHL playoff games on Saturday’s card and in this preview we’ll take a look at a 3:05 PM Eastern start game between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning were apparently taken by surprise at the tenacity of the New York Islanders in Game One. New York had just finished a nip and tuck series against the Florida Panthers and apparently the Lightning didn’t take them as seriously as they should have. They’ll be paying attention now following a 5-3 loss in Game One.

This has been a very evenly matched series of late. Over the last three years the Islanders have won 6 of 10 games head to head though the teams have split six games in the ‘Cigar City’. The teams played three times during the regular season with New York winning twice. The Lightning will be without Anton Stralman for this game and of course Steven Stamkos remains sidelined with his blood clot. The Islanders will be without Anders Lee, Ryan Pullock and Josh Bailey in addition to starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak who is recovering from a long term groin injury. Halak could be back before long–he was a full participant in Friday’s practice and taking shots from teammates. New York has been getting good work from backup Thomas Greiss so there’s no reason to rush Halak back into action.

History favors Tampa Bay in this matchup. When a visiting team wins Game One in a Best of Seven NHL series they win the second game only 37.8% of the time. The Bolts’ got a decent amount of shots on Greiss (36) but they’ll need a much better performance from Vezina Trophy candidate Ben Bishop. The Islanders are very much capable of winning this series but the Lightning are going to be a ‘tough out’. This one could very well go the full seven games.

Just can’t see Tampa Bay rolling over again in Game Two. The Islanders will likely be happy with a split on enemy ice and sure don’t expect to see Bishop play so poorly in two straight games. The Islanders haven’t dealt well with success this season. After a 3 game unbeaten streak they’re 3-8 and after a win by 2 or more goals they’re 10-14. The Lightning are 15-7 after a loss of two or more.


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