I anticipated an intense, high-scoring affair in Winnipeg last night and that is just what I got as the Jets and Ducks played a back-and-forth affair with the end result being a 5-4 Ducks overtime victory, putting the Jets on the brink of elimination. In fact, for the third time in three games this series the Ducks managed to stage a third period comeback as they scored a goal with under five minutes remaining in regulation time and sent Game 3 to extra time where Rickard Rakell scored his first career playoff overtime winner to cap the comeback. It is unbelievable how many times the Ducks have pulled off third period rallies this season and, as I stated in yesterday’s prediction, it helps with the OVER given their ability to score multiple third period goals. The 5-4 final flew well OVER the 5.5 total and we grabbed our easiest winner of these playoffs at a great price of +125. I will look to keep things going tonight with four games on the slate.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Detroit Red Wings
My Pick – RED WINGS (-110)
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan is the site for Game 3 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings as the series switches gears to the Motor City after the two teams split games 1 and 2 in St. Pete. Detroit was able to win game 1, however were blown out 5-1 in game 2 and look to rebound tonight on home ice where their chances of victory improve dramatically as Tampa Bay is the best home team in the NHL. Tampa Bay won just 18 games away from home this season which is the fewest road wins out of any team currently in the postseason partly due to the play of their netminder. Ben Bishop’s .925 save percentage on home ice is stellar, however that percentage falls all the way to .904 on the road which was 33rd among all goaltenders with at least 15 road starts this season. Bishop played well in Game 2, however was the goat in Game 1 as he surrendered three goals on just 14 Red Wing shots. In their most recent trip to Detroit the Lightning’s high-octane offense was shut down as they lost 4-0 to the hometown Wings. In fact, you will have to go back all the way to 2011 to find Tampa Bay’s last road victory in the postseason as they were unable to get one last year while falling to the Montreal Canadiens in just four games. The Red Wings will get a spark back in to their lineup as Justin Abdelkader will make his return to the lineup after missing the previous five games with a hand injury. Abdelkader’s 23 goals were fourth on the Wings this season as he provided a little bit of everything for Mike Babcock this season and is sure to provide Detroit with a boost heading in to Game 3. The return of Abdelkader lengthens Detroit’s lineup so Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk can be split up and centre two scoring lines up front rather than concentrating all of the offense on one line. He could also contribute on the powerplay where Detroit ranked 2nd in the league in the regular season with a 23.8% clip where Tampa Bay actually fell to 14th at 18.8%. The Red Wings are consistently one of the most underrated teams in the NHL and that reason is completely unknown to me. On top of having the best front office and being the best coached team in the league, Detroit’s on-ice play continues to defy the “experts” and I believe they take Game 3 tonight to grab themselves a 2-1 series lead.