NHL Playoffs Picks: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 3 Free Pick
Tampa Bay Lightning
The top seed in the Eastern Conference is in a heck of a lot of trouble in NHL playoffs betting action on Tuesday night, as the Washington Capitals are basically in a do or die situation against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum after losing the first two games of this series at the Verizon Center.
Things just haven’t bounced the Caps’ way in the first two games of this series, and that was really demonstrated by the fact that the game winning goal in overtime for Tampa Bay came off of a pass that covered about 70% of the ice before finding its intended target. What’s scary for the Washington faithful is just how well this team has played historically against the Lightning and how badly things are going right now. The Capitals were 19-5 in their previous 24 meetings with their divisional rivals, which almost takes away from the fact that Tampa Bay is just 2-10 in its last 12 home dates with Washington as well. The good news though, is that Alexander Ovechkin is really starting to come alive. Simply put, Ovie scored a stunner on Sunday night in our nation’s capitol, finding pay dirt with six skaters on the ice with just 1:08 to go to give Washington all of the momentum going into the OT period. Still, Michal Neuvirth, not really at his own fault, allowed the game winner and has dropped to 0-2 in this series. The Capitals know that they need to get better play out of their defense and their goaltending though, as six conceded goals in two games (though one was in an empty net) just isn’t going to cut it at this point in the playoffs.
Cash in on the biggest sportsbook bonuses on the internet here at Bang the Book! Get a 50% CASH BONUS if you win your first bet! Click Here to check out this and the newest promotions for hockey picks, only for Bang the Book readers at BetEd!
Of course, what the Capitals are probably learning right now, is that the power of Ovie by himself isn’t going to be able to stop the forces that the Lightning have to deal with. All of the big boys have had their hands in on goals in this series, as Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Vincent LeCavalier have lit the lamp and have had their hands in on assists. St. Louis and LeCavalier are playing out of their skulls right now, just like they did when the Lightning won their only Stanley Cup in team history a handful of years ago. LeCavalier sent the DC crowd home in awe after his remarkable game winner on Sunday night, but the vet also opened up the scoring with a power play goal right at the tail end of the first period. The hero is still Dwayne Roloson, though. He might be 41 years old, but there is clearly nothing that Roli can’t do right now, as he is stopping virtually everything that comes his way. Not bad for a grandpa of the sport and a man that is facing more shots each and every game than his opponents are.
Tampa Bay is going to be thrilled to be back on its home ice, but it just isn’t going to be able to really put the clamps on this series once and for all. The Bolts are great, and they might be able to slip out the door from their own arena with a 3-1 series lead, but the Caps aren’t going to die here. Without Pavel Kubina and Simon Gagne in the lineup, Tampa Bay won’t be able to hold Washington off.