NHL Hockey Betting: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Hockey Betting:  Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins&h=235&w=320&zc=1

There’s nothing like a Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner of this game will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Tampa Bay Lightning would be making their second straight trip to the Finals should they emerge victorious. This series has been evenly contested as has the recent regular season action between these two teams. In the last 15 games overall Pittsburgh has won 8 with Tampa Bay winning 7. In games played at Pittsburgh–the Penguins have won 4 and Tampa 3. This has been our premise throughout this series–these are two evenly matched teams which is why we’ve been betting the ‘plus money’ with the Lightning every time out.

The Penguins will almost certainly send 21 year old rookie goaltender Matt Murray in Game Seven. He’s the last man standing in the Penguins’ game of musical chairs between the pipes. Murray took over the starting job late in the regular season after Marc-Andre Fleury suffered his second concussion of the season. Fleury returned to the lineup at the start of this series and after Murray got the hook in Game Four Fleury came on in relief and played well. Mike Sullivan started Fleury for Game Five and he was ineffective as well. That forced him to turn back to Murray for Game Six and he performed well.

Tampa Bay has only one viable option at goalie and that is 21 year old Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy has been a capable fill in for Lightning starter Ben Bishop who has been downgraded to ‘doubtful’ for this game. Vasilevskiy had one of his worst games of the playoffs last time out and he needs to rebound quickly if Tampa Bay is to keep their season going. Tampa Bay doesn’t have a choice but to start Vasilevskiey in Game Seven–right now their backup is Latvian product Kristers Gudlevskis who has exactly two games of NHL experience.

As far as we’re concerned, this game is easy to handicap. There’s only one way to play it. Pittsburgh is a good team but at -200 they’d have to win roughly 68% of the time just to break even. The price on the Penguins has been too high all along so win or lose we’re getting value.


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