Red Wings vs Lightning - Game 1 Playoff Preview & NHL Betting Lines
Detroit Red Wings (+149) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-165)
Thursday (7:30 pm ET) – April 16, 2015
As a Hall of Fame player, Steve Yzerman led the Detroit Red Wings to NHL elite status. As a general manager, he’s built a team to beat them. Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning hosts his old team Thursday in the first game of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and that’s one of the interesting story lines in this confrontation.
What to watch from the Detroit Red Wings (43-25-14):
Another sidebar is the fact that young Petr Mrazek will stand in goal for the Red Wings, rather than veteran Jimmy Howard. Mrazek, 16-9-2 with a 2.38 GAA, got the nod after Howard struggled down the regular-season stretch. It’ll be the 23-year-old’s first playoff start. The Red Wings will look to winger Henrik Zetterberg (66 pts) and center Pavel Datsyuk (65 pts) to do the offensive damage. The Wings come into the playoffs having won two of their last three games in the regular season.
What to watch from the Tampa Bay Lightning (50-24-8):
Yzerman has gone out and gotten players to bolster what was already a potent lineup. Now the team features the highest scoring offense in the league. Centers Steven Stamkos (43 goals) and Tyler Johnson (72 pts), account for much of that scoring in the speedy lines for Tampa Bay. Tampa calls on Ben Bishop to defend goal. At 6-feet-7, Bishop is a formidable stopper and carries a 40-win record to prove it. He also has a 1.68 GAA in his nine career games against Detroit.
NHL Betting Picks: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Datsyuk-Stamkos matchup should be a dandy. That and special teams could make this a testy opener for Tampa Bay, if things get physical. The Lightning are mediocre on power plays (18.8 power play percentage), while the Red Wings are one of the best in the league (25.3 PPP). But those are about the only things that keep Detroit on par with their hosts. Look for the swift, hard-charging Lightning to take advantage of goalie Mrazek and win Game 1.
*Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change to due time sensitivity. Please visit the sportsbook for up to date odds.
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