Detroit Red Wings (+150) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-175, 5 o/u)
After being mired in a scoring slump through the first five games of the series, the Tampa Bay Lightning (3-3, 1-2 home) showed why they were the highest scoring team in the NHL this year, erupting for five goals in Game 6 en route to a 5-2 win over the Red Wings (3-3, 2-1 away).
Tyler Johnson led the way for the Bolts, scoring his fifth and sixth goals of the series.
The win forced a seventh and deciding game, which will go tonight at Amalie Arena in Tampa (5:30 PM Eastern).
Tampa had an excellent home mark during the regular season, but has struggled at Amelie in the playoffs, losing two of three.
“We have to be a lot better than we have been. They’ve come in here and beat us twice. We have that mentality we were the best team at home in the league for a reason, and we have to show that,” said Tampa Bay sniper Steven Stamkos.
Detroit will have an uphill battle in its effort to win a third road game in the series. The team’s top defenseman, Niklas Kronwall, has been suspended for the deciding game after laying out Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov with a hit to the head.
In the absence of Kronwall, the Red Wings will need goalie Petr Mrazek to return to his nearly unbeatable form. The rookie Czech netminder had surrendered just one goal per game, on average, through the first five games before giving up four on 22 shots in Game 6.
In the Game 7 trends, Detroit played two last season, beating the Anaheim Ducks and losing to the Chicago Blackhawks. Tampa played a Game 7 for the last time in 2011, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals.
Game 7s tend to be tight-checking, low scoring affairs. Though the Lightning can score with the best of them, consider the under for tonight’s game.
(Photo credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)