Lightning vs Capitals – NHL Game 4 Pick for May 17th

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The Lightning came out in Game 3 and attacked Washington right away. They scored in the opening period and then added 3 more goals in the 2nd period. Before Washington could realize what was going on, they were down 4 to 1 and had no chance of coming back against a goalie who was in the zone. With the win, the Lightning were able to claw their way back into the series. They’re only down 2-1 and have a chance of regaining home ice advantage with a win in Game 4.

In my preview for Game 3, I stated that the Lightning needed several players to step up in order to win. Those players were: Kucherov, Stamkos and Hedman. I singled out Hedman on defense and also declared he needed to improve on the power play. Hedman went out in Game 3 and tallied a goal and two assists. Both of those assists came on the power play as the Lightning went 2 for 5. And, those PP goals were scored by Stamkos and Kucherov. The duo tallied 4 total points in Game 3. And, it’s no coincidence that they won the game. Tampa will need all 3 of these guys to produce in Game 4, if they hope to win and even the series.

Another huge factor in Tampa’s Game 3 win was goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who stopped 36 of 38 shots. Yes, Washington had 38 shots compared to just 23 for Tampa Bay. In fact, for the series, Washington has 91 shots compared to Tampa’s 63. But, Vasilevskiy kept Tampa in the game and prevented the Capitals from storming back. He had given up 10 goals in the first two games against Washington. The Lightning also killed all 3 of Washington’s power plays.

For the Capitals, they pretty much did what I feared they would – take their foot off the gas. Washington has proven to be less than stellar at home in the playoffs. Alex Ovechkin had 9 shots on goal and didn’t even tally a point. The Capitals could get a much needed boost for tonight’s game as Nicklas Backstrom is very close to returning from his injured hand, which has kept him out for the last 4 games. Prior to the injury, Backstrom had 13 points in 11 playoff games.

Heading into Game 4, the Capitals are 3-4 SU at home this postseason. In fact, the road team has won all 3 games so far and the Lightning have improved to 4-1 on the road in the playoffs.

Once again, we’re looking at a game where it’s not safe to take Washington at home. Additionally, they’re 3-9 ATS in their last 12 home games. Tampa is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 postseason road games, but the odds for tonight’s spread of +1.5 is -280. That certainly doesn’t provide any value. So, that leaves us with the Total and another hack at the Over.

In all 3 games of this series, the teams have combined to score at least 6 goals per game. 15 of their last 23 head-to-head meetings have also hit the Over. The Over has hit 6 times in the last 9 Washington home games. For Tampa, the Over is 55-36 this season and 33-20 during the 2nd half of the season. The Over is 23-15 after Tampa wins by 2 goals or more and the Over is 31-18 after scoring at least 4 goals in the previous game.

Bet: Over 6 goals (-105)

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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