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NHL ♦ Stanley Cup Playoffs ♦ Saturday 4/30/16

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    “Stanley Cup Playoffs”

    Saturday’s NHL betting preview

    In a pair of Eastern Conference semi finals games Saturday, one home team needs to even up their series, while the other tries to hold on to home ice advantage. We break down all the action on the ice in our betting preview.

    New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning (A: 142, H: -157, O/U: 5)

    Islanders lead series 1-0

    The Tampa Bay Lightning proved they could come back after losing the first contest of a series twice during last season’s playoffs and must do it again in 2016. The Lightning look to even the series after a 5-3 setback with a sharper performance when they host the New York Islanders for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference second-round battle on Saturday afternoon.

    Tampa Bay was sloppy with the puck Wednesday and the Islanders capitalized while becoming the first team to score more than two goals against Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop in his last nine playoff games. “We played into their strengths a little bit too much, especially with turnovers,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman told reporters. “(Bishop) can’t bail us out every night. We know that. We have to make sure that everyone bounces back.” New York captain John Tavares continued his dynamic postseason with a goal and an assist in Game 1 to give him 11 points in seven contests. Goalie Thomas Greiss could be the key going forward after stopping 121 of the 126 shots he faced – 33-of-36 on Wednesday — in the last three games, prompting Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic to tell reporters, “He’s been a wall.”

    TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, Sportsnet, TVAS


    Islanders – Thomas Greiss (W/L: 5-2, GAA: 1.94, SAVE %: .941)

    Lightning – Ben Bishop (W/L: 4-2, GAA: 2.20, SAVE %: .931)

    ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (50-29-10, 37-44 O/U):
    Forward Shane Prince, who was acquired from Ottawa just before the trade deadline for depth purposes, is proving to be an important pickup after scoring twice in Game 1 – his second and third of the playoffs. “Being able to contribute, it’s huge,” Prince told reporters. “We need everybody to bring their best.” Former first-round pick Ryan Strome, who returned to the lineup to replace fellow forward Josh Bailey (upper body), notched a pair of assists in Game 1 while playing primarily on a line with Prince and center Frans Nielsen.

    ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (50-33-5, 36-41 O/U):
    Forwards Mike Blunden and Erik Condra, along with defenseman Matt Carle, are day-to-day after missing practice Friday due to injuries while captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot) and defenseman Anton Stralman (broken fibula) remain out indefinitely. Coach Jon Cooper reunited leading scorer Nikita Kucherov (six goals) with Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson on the top line as Valterri Filppula, Alex Killorn and Jonathan Drouin skate on another unit. Brian Boyle could center Ryan Callahan and Cedric Paquette on a checking line Saturday.


    * Islanders are 6-1 in their last seven road games.
    * Home team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
    * Over is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings.
    * Over is 3-0-1 in Lightning last four versus Metropolitan Division opponents.


    Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals (A: +113, H: -125, O/U: 5)

    Capitals lead series 1-0

    After overcoming the physical style of one opponent, the Washington Capitals showed they have the wheels to outrace another when they emerged victorious against the high-octane Pittsburgh Penguins to open their second-round series. Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington looks to capitalize on the momentum of T.J. Oshie’s hat trick when it hosts Metropolitan Division-rival Pittsburgh in Game 2 on Saturday.

    “I think the group has evolved to change their game enough that they still have their identity, (but) they have the ability to adapt to what the game is presenting,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post. The plodding pace of the first-round series with Philadelphia was cranked up several notches in Game 1 on Thursday, with Oshie’s wraparound goal 9:33 into overtime standing up as the winner despite a lengthy review. Series focal points Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby primarily played a secondary role, as the former set up Oshie’s second goal and was a plus-3 while the latter recorded no points and was a minus-3. Then again, the two superstars could be ready to erupt after making their presence felt with dueling hat tricks in Game 2 of their epic 2009 playoff series – setting the stage for a frantic seven-game set that saw Ovechkin score eight goals and set up six others and Crosby collect eight tallies and five assists.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVAS


    Penguins – Matt Murray (W/L: 3-1, GAA: 1.92, SAVE %: .935)

    Capitals – Braden Holtby (W/L: 5-2, GAA: 1.12, SAVE % .960)

    ABOUT THE PENGUINS (52-27-9, 40-33 O/U):
    Although rookie Matt Murray thought Oshie’s final tally would be “close enough that it would be inconclusive,” there was no denying the fine pad save he made on Ovechkin’s partial breakaway bid with 3 1/2 minutes to play. “I tried to force him to make the first move,” the 21-year-old Murray said of thwarting the three-time Hart Trophy winner. “It’s no different than with any other player.” Murray yielded four goals on 35 shots, matching the number of tallies he surrendered on 89 shots en route to winning the final three contests to eliminate the New York Rangers in the first round.

    ABOUT THE CAPITALS (61-20-8, 35-37 O/U):
    Andre Burakovsky shook off any lingering resentment following his demotion to the third line by continuing to torment the Penguins. “He had that look in his eye,” Trotz told the Washington Post of the 21-year-old Burakovsky, whose Game 1 tally marked not only his first point of the postseason but his third straight goal versus Pittsburgh. “When he starts to feel it, he gets some shots off. He had a couple good looks (on Thursday).”


    * Penguins are 0-4 in their last four Conference Semifinals games.
    * Capitals are 38-14 in their last 52 games playing on one days rest.
    * Under is 9-2-4 in Capitals last 15 Conference Semifinals games.
    * Over is 4-1-1 in Penguins last six versus Metropolitan division opponents.


    NY Islanders-Tampa Bay (NY 1-0)
    Islanders won five of last six games with Tampa Bay, but lost three of last five visits here, in a series where home side won six of last eight games- over is 5-1-1 in last seven. Islanders won five of last six road games overall. Tampa Bay won four of its last six games, winning four of its last five home games, but Islanders scored twice in last 2:32 of first period in Game 1, scoring with 0:03 left in first period as they drew first blood in this series. NY was 1-4 on power play, Lightning 0-2. Tampa Bay outshot NY 28-10 in last two periods after falling behind 3-1, but never caught up.

    Pittsburgh-Washington (W 1-0)
    Oshie got hat trick, scoring GW goal at 9:33 of OT, as Washington overcame giving up pair of goals in 0:57 span of second period in Game 1 win. Road team is now 5-3 in last eight series games. Pittsburgh is 3-2 in last five visits here; over is 4-1-2 in last seven series games. Penguins outshot Caps 30-12 in periods 2-3, 45-35 for game; they were 0-2 on power play, Washington 0-4. Pens won eight of last 11 games; over is 7-2-1 in their last ten games. Under is 5-2-1 in Washington’s last eight games.

    Playoffs tally:
    1st round– Home: 23-24, Over: 16-17-14
    2nd round– Home: 3-1, Over: 3-1


    Hockey Crusher

    Tampa Bay Lightning + New York Islanders – OVER 5
    (System Record: 74-6, lost last 2 games)
    Overall Record: 74-91-25


    NHL Hockey Betting Trends – Sat – April, 30

    NY Islanders at Tampa Bay, 3:05 PM ET
    New York: 3-8 SU after a 3 game unbeaten streak
    Tampa Bay: 8-0 SU off a home loss by 2 goals or more

    Pittsburgh at Washington, 8:05 PM ET
    Pittsburgh: 33-38 SU vs. division opponents
    Washington: 26-10 SU after a division game


    Mike the MC

    Tampa Bay Lightening -155 & Over 5 -120

    Washington Capitals -130 & Over 5 -135


    We Pick Sports

    5* Pittsburgh / Washington – Under 5



    Game: Pittsburgh Penguins (11) @ Washington Capitals (12)
    Time: Saturday 04/30 8:05 PM Eastern
    Pick: Pittsburgh +106 (moneyline)
    Washington’s offense took a dip the last series, losing twice to Philly after taking a 3-0 series lead. The Caps scored just two goals in the final three games of the series, then had to hold off Pittsburgh in Game 1, a 4-3 overtime win. They face a dominant Pittsburgh defense, ranked sixth in the NHL in goals allowed and fifth in penalty killing. And the speedy offense behind Sidney Crosby is sixth in the league in goals scored. In Game 1, Crosby won 68 percent of his faceoffs as Pittsburgh outshot Washington 45-35. The game was played at a breakneck pace, which the Penguins prefer, with Ben Lovejoy, Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bonino scoring for Pittsburgh. The Penguins lead the NHL in the postseason with an average of four goals per game and have the postseason’s top power-play unit. The Penguins are on a 35-17 run, 20-6 on one day of rest and 13-3 against an opponent with a winning record. Play Pittsburgh in Game 2.


    Johnny Goodtimes

    Triple: (NHL Season -10.75*)

    Tampa Bay Lightning {-160}
    3 Units



    UNDER 5 – pittsburgh / washington




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