The goal of every team heading into an NHL playoff series is to get things off to the best start possible. For the team that has to start on the road, that generally means picking up a split in the opening 2 games. Stealing home ice advantage early on can shift the momentum of a series in a pretty big way, but it only really works of that team can then go on to hold serve at home in Games 3 and 4. That is the task that now awaits the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they head back to Amalie Arena on Wednesday night with their Eastern Conference Final match-up tied at 1-1 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The next 2 games in this series will have the Pens trying to replicate what Tampa did on the road, and you can bet that they would like to get home ice advantage back in Game 3, as that would put some real pressure back on the shoulders of the Lightning. You can wager on this one by visiting the NHL betting lines page at MyBookie.ag.
How To Bet The Penguins vs Lightning NHL Playoffs Odds, TV & Game Info
Why bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins
They must be breathing a big sigh of relief in Pittsburgh after a Sidney Cosby OT goal in Game 2 got this series knotted at 1-1. That victory helped the Penguins get a rather large monkey off their backs, as it was the first time in 5 attempts that they had beaten Tampa. If Pittsburgh are going to make it to the Stanley Cup Final, they are going to have to get a little more opportunistic in front of goal. They have fired 76 shots on net over the first 2 games in the series, but have only managed to score 4 times so far. Given that they are going against a back-up goalie you would expect their returns to be a little better.
Why bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning may have lost Game 2, but they still have the split they were after, and they are also still well aware that they have won 4 of the last 5 meetings with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The big question that Bolts fans want answered right now is whether or not they will see Ben Bishop back between the pipes in Game 3. Vasilevskiy has been good in relief of Bishop, but you feel that they are going to need their number 1 back if they ate to successfully navigate this series. Tampa have won 5 of their 6 home games in these playoffs, so you have to like their chances to win this one.
My Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
While I am not suggesting that a whole series can turn on a single goal, you have to wonder what effect the Crosby OT winner has on both teams. I think it has a bigger effect on the Penguins, especially given their recent struggles against Tampa. I like the Pens to steal back home ice advantage in Game 3.
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 Tampa Bay Lightning 2