Tampa Bay (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1)
When: Monday, May 16th 2016
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to lose their top players, but have found a way to keep winning and will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa goalie Ben Bishop was carted off the ice on Friday, but the Lightning got good news when X-rays came back negative on his left leg and he is considered day-to-day. Captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot) and top-pair defenseman Anton Stralman (broken fibula) could return at some point in the series. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced after replacing Bishop and the team has total confidence in the 21-year-old Russian. “If there’s one thing that Vasilevskiy will never be knocked for, it’s for preparation and work ethic,” Cooper told reporters. “That’s in his DNA.” Right wing Ryan Callahan avoided suspension after his five-minute major for a hit on Pittsburgh’s top defenseman Kris Letang in Game 1 and told reporters, “I’ve never been fined or suspended. So I take pride in that, to be an honest player.” Defenseman Victor Hedman logged a game-high 27:41 of ice time in Game 1 and has nine points with a +7 rating in the last six games.
Pittsburgh’s top offensive weapons have been quiet the last few games and would like to see Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby get back on track. Malkin registered a game-high seven shots on goal Friday but extended his point drought to five contests, while Crosby has gone seven games without a goal. Forward Patric Hornqvist scored in Game 1 to take over the team lead with six goals in the postseason. Matt Murray was shaky in Game 1 allowing three goals on just 20 shots, but will get the start in Game 2. Murray still holds a 7-3 record with a 2.15 GAA in the playoffs subbing for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury. Phil Kessel had an assist in Game 1 and leads the team with 13 points in the playoffs including five in his last three games.
I think the Penguins will come back strong in this game and dominate the Lightning. I’m not laying 2/1, so I’ll take a shot at the puckline.
Pick: Penguins -1.5 +155