The Tampa Bay Lightning posted the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference. Their reward for that great 54-23-3-2 mark was home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Which is interesting in itself as home ice has not been much of an advantage so far in the NHL post season. But Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said it best. Cooper claims home ice only matters in game seven. Well game seven has arrived in the Eastern Conference Final. Tampa Bay is the host. The winner moves on to the Stanley Cup Final. The loser makes a painful and regretful retreat to the golf links.
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Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 7
Date and Time: Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
NHL Odds at BETCRIS: Check Back Later
Capitals vs. Lightning TV Coverage: NBCSN
Washington won the first two games of this series at Tampa Bay by scores of 4-2 and 6-2. But Tampa Bay rallied to win the next three games. The Lightning won games three and four at Washington by identical scores of 4-2. Tampa Bay then won gave five at home 3-2 and went back to DC with a chance to clinch the series. But the Capitals posted a 3-0 win to force a game seven. The winner of game seven moves on to meet the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has had a strong playoff with a .920 save percentage, 2.55 goals against average, and an 11-5 record.
Washington netminder Braden Holtby has a .919 save percentage with a 2.16 goals against average and one shutout. His record is 11-6. Holtby began the post season on the bench after an inconsistent regular season. But when the Caps fell behind the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 at home in the first round Holtby was summoned off the pine to save the season. Which is what he has done.
Players to Watch
Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the team with 11 goals, 12 assists and a plus six. Alex Ovechkin has 11 goals and 10 assists with a plus four. Best of all Ovechkin has set a great example with a full throttle effort. TJ Oshie came up clutch with two goals in game six and has seven goals with eight assists for the playoffs with a plus four.
Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov has a team best seven goals with ten assists. Centers Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos each have seven goals and nine assists. The difference maker could be big defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman has one goal and ten assists in the playoffs with a strong presence against the opponent’s top lines.
Tampa Bay has won 11 out of their last 17 games against the Capitals with Just one of the last eight meetings in this head to head series going over the total. The Caps have had the edge at Amalie Arena with seven payouts in their last ten visits against the Lightning. Just four of the last 17 games in this head to head series at Tampa Bay have gone under the total.
Capitals vs. Lightning Free Picks
Washington has had an admirable run in the playoffs. In the past the Capitals would have folded like a house of cards. But not this time. However, the fact remains that the Lightning are the deeper team. They have more secondary scoring. And the goaltending matchup is even. Cooper is likely correct about game seven home ice mattering most. This is the Lightning’s reward for the strong regular season. And expect it to payoff with an Eastern Conference championship win!
Capitals vs. Lightning Pick: Bet the Tampa Bay Lightning money line
Capitals vs. Lightning Score Prediction: Lightning 3, Capitals 1
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