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NHL Playoff Betting – Can Lightning Pull Even?

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in News

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

Steven Stamkos with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Steven Stamkos leads the Presidents Trophy-winning Lightning with 41 goals. Photo by Michael Miller (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].

Chicago Blackhawks (+105) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-125) 

The Tampa Bay brass can put whatever restrictions they want on what Blackhawks fans wear inside their building; if the Lightning drop tomorrow’s Game 2 (7:15 PM Eastern), it’s very likely Chicago fans won’t have to come back to Amalie Arena this year.

The Bolts held on to a flimsy 1-0 lead for nearly 50 minutes in Game 1, but Chicago rookie Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and an assist in the final seven minutes to give the Blackhawks a Game 1 win and shift home ice advantage back to the two-time champs.

In a game where neither team looked its best and the stars made little impact, it was Chicago’s third line that stole the show, showcasing a depth that has eluded Tampa all playoffs. (Tampa’s top two lines have accounted for 82-percent of the team’s goals this postseason.) Game 1 was there for the taking and this young Tampa team pooped itself, only generating 23 shots on the streaky Corey Crawford.

Now the Bolts need to win tomorrow to have any realistic shot at lifting the Cup because winning two games at the Madhouse on Madison is a pipe dream; Chicago is 7-1 at home these playoffs and 5-1 at home in their past two Stanley Cup Finals.

As desperate as Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, and the rest of the Lightning will be to win tonight, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will also be looking for a bounce-back game. Game 1 was only the second game all playoffs that neither Kane nor Toews tallied a point.

If Tampa is going to pull out this game and series, they can’t play the New York Rangers-style of trying to squeeze out 2-1 wins. They’ll have to open up their offensive a game a little more and potentially leave themselves liable on the back end. However, goaltending is perhaps the one area where the Lightning have the advantage in this series and one would think Ben Bishop could steal them a game.

At the end of the day, though, you can’t pass up the opportunity to bet on the Blackhawks as underdogs. They’ll be heavy favorites when they return home, so bet this playoff-tested team while there is still value.

Pick: Blackhawks (+105)

(Photo Credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)

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