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4 of 4 Experts (100%) with a pick on the moneyline are aligned. 10* play on the Tampa Bay Lightning (Straight-up).
Al McMordie: Game of the Week (NHL): BIG AL's NHL GAME OF THE WEEK!
You have to hand it to the Blue Jackets. After a devastating 5 OT loss in Game one on Tuesday, you wouldn't blame them if they packed it in. But Columbus sucked it up and came back in Game 2 on Thursday and beat the favored Bolts, 3-1. Now it's up to Tampa to show that it can rebound in the same manner. The Lightning once again had a huge shot advantage in game two, 37-22, but following his NHL record 85-save performance in Game 1, Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo was stellar once again. Look for the Bolts to shake up their front lines in an effort to get back to the type of scoring they had during most of the regular season (first in the NHL at 3.47 GPG). The banged-up Jackets will once again be without several key offensive players, including Brandon Dubinsky, Josh Anderson, and Cam Atkinson. Tampa is 19-3 (+14 games on the moneyline) in its last 22 after scoring 1 goal or less in its previous game, and 59-25 (+20 games on the moneyline) off a loss.
AAA Sports: AAA'S *10* GAME OF THE WEEK >> 55-26 ALL SPORTS RUN!
Tampa Bay thought it finally had gained the upper hand against arch-nemesis Columbus after a FIVE overtime victory in Game 1. Technically, the had. The win put the Lightning up 1-0 in the series. But then they lost Game 2 by a score of 3-1. The Blue Jackets really neutralized the Lightning’s offense in that one, giving up just the one goal in the first period. Obviously, in the back of Tampa Bay’s head is what happened last year - a shocking first round sweep at the hands of Columbus. Because they won Game 1, it can’t be a repeat, but the goal here is not to get eliminated by the same team two years in a row. The Lightning shouldn’t hang their heads too much though; they outshot the Blue Jackets in Game 2, 37-22. Game 1 it was an 88-63 edge in that regard (remember, 5 OT’s). Since the restart, the pattern for Columbus has been win one, lose one (they have yet to win or lose consecutive games. Tampa Bay also hasn’t lost two in a row.
Ben Burns: SAT. NHL VIOLATOR
The price on the Lightning has come down a bit from its opener and I now believe that the superior team, in my opinion, is providing us with value. The Lightning took their foot off the gas a little in Game 2 and paid for it. Series tied, I expect them to be all business the entire way. I still feel that the 5-OT game combined with the 5-game series against the Leafs will eventually take a toll on Columbus. Lets not forget that Columbus was outscored 187-180 this season while TB outscored opposing teams by a 245-195 margin. That +50 goal differential was second to only Boston (+53) in the entire NHL.
Dan Kaiser: NHL 2
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets come in tied at a game apiece. The Blue Jackets could easily be up 2-0 in the series but are now fighting not to go down 2-1. Columbus needs to pick it up offensively as they have put up just 2.57 goals a game and are putting up 2.66 goals in their last three games. On the defensive end, they are allowing 2.61 goals and have allowed just two goals a game against Tampa Bay.
The Lightning's offense has slowed down in the playoffs. They scored three times in game one but could come up with just one in a 2-1 loss in game two. During the regular season, they allowed 2.77 goals and in their last five games, they have allowed 2.6 goals.
Both teams have struggled scoring in this series. If either team is going to break out I would expect it to be Tampa Bay more than Columbus. This could be another close game, but Tampa Bay will prevail in this one and take a 2-1 lead.
Best of luck!
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