It all comes down to Game 7 on Wednesday night to determine the Eastern Conference Finals champion, as the Washington Capitals visit the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game that can be seen on NBCSN. The Capitals won the first two games of this series and then the Lightning won the next three. Washington won Game 6 at home on Monday to even the series and send everyone back to Tampa for Game 7 on Wednesday night. Let’s look at the contest and NHL Playoff picks.
At 8:00 p.m. ET, tune into NBCSN for live television coverage of this NHL game on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at Amalie Arena.
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The Lightning are -155 favorites to win Game 7 with the total listed at 5.5 under. It is a little bit surprising that Tampa is such a solid favorite considering they have been outplayed in almost every game of this series. The Capitals were dominant in Game 6, winning 3-0. The only reason the Lightning have won three games in this series is goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. He has kept Tampa in every game and covered up a lot of problems for the Lightning. He was very good again in Game 6 but his teammates really didn’t show up. The Capitals are outshooting, outhitting and playing harder than Tampa.
Tampa Bay was favored to win this series before it began and they are favored to win Game 7 simply because they are at home. The Lightning have been completely outplayed 5-on-5, but they have been able to score on the power play. If the Capitals stay out of the box they win.
Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan said that the Lightning simply didn’t play with enough urgency in Game 6. "They played with that desperate hockey and we should have matched it and we didn't," Callahan said to the media. "They played like their lives were on the line, and we played like we had another chance and that's unfortunate, but we've got to change the script now in Game 7."
The Lightning have gotten excellent play from Vasilevskiy throughout this series so we know he is going to be good. The key player in this game is Washington goaltender Braden Holtby. He is just 2-4 in Game 7’s in his career even though his save percentage in those games is .923. He needs to play at a high level if Washington is to have a chance to win on Wednesday.
The Capitals are 14-3 in their last 17 road games. The Lightning are 4-0 in their last 4 games following a loss of three goals or more. The Lightning are 37-15 in their last 52 home games.
Looking at the total, the Under is 3-1-1 in the Capitals last 5 road games. The Over is 12-4-1 in the last 17 meetings at Tampa Bay.
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I am really surprised by how poorly Tampa has played in this series. You can make a case that they have been outplayed in five of the six games in this series. Their power play and Vasilevskiy are why they are even playing a Game 7. I keep waiting for the Lightning to turn things on and it simply hasn’t happened and maybe it won’t. I know that everyone is talking about how important home ice is in a Game 7, but Tampa hasn’t played that well at home in this series and Washington has been really good on the road. I will take the plus price on the Capitals to win Game 7 on Wednesday. I also expect another tight, low scoring contest, so I will take the game under the total.
NHL Odds: Capitals 3, Lightning 2
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