Tampa Bay Lightning (-103) at Detroit Red Wings (-107, 5 o/u)
The Tampa Bay Lightning (2-3, 1-1 away) had a marvelous regular season, finishing with 108 points, the most in franchise history. But a few tepid playoff performances against the Detroit Red Wings (3-2, 1-1 home) have put the high-scoring squad down 3-2 in the series and on the brink of elimination. Tampa will look to force a seventh and deciding game tonight as the series shifts back to Detroit for Game 6 (7:00 PM Eastern at Joe Louis Arena).
The Lightning were the highest-scoring team during the regular season, averaging 3.2 GPG, but they’ve averaged just one goal per game in the series and have been shutout twice in the last three.
“It’s been frustrating not to score, especially for a team that’s used to scoring,” said Tampa coach Jon Cooper. “If you take the overtime out, we haven’t scored in eight of the last nine periods. When the object is to score, it’s tough to win without scoring.”
Game 5 saw Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek stop all 28 shots he faced. Riley Sheahan’s power play goal late in the first period stood up as the game winner. Pavel Datsyuk, Drew Miller, and Danny DeKeyser added insurance markers for the Wings en route to a 4-0 win.
After the game, Detroit head coach Mike Babcock was all praise for Mrazek.
“He’s an elite competitor … and he’s got good savvy about him. He thinks he’s going to win,” said the coach. “He’s a real confident guy, and he’s got great athleticism.”
One of the more intriguing trends in this series is that no team has managed back-to-back wins. That said, there isn’t much value on Tampa (-103) since the Lightning struggle at the Joe. But Steven Stamkos, who had 43 goals in 82 games during the regular season and has been shutout in the playoffs, is due for an offensive outburst, much like the majority of his teammates. Mrazek is indeed playing well, but this is his first go as a starter in the NHL and he could easily suffer an Andrew Hammond-like letdown.
I’ll take the over (5).
(Photo credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)