Detroit Red Wings (43-25-14) at Tampa Bay Lightning (50-24-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 16, 2015, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -152 / Detroit Red Wings +137 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Lightning lost out on top spot in the Atlantic on the last day of the regular season and now face off against the playoff savvy Red Wings in Thursday's opener.
The Detroit Red Wings qualified for the NHL playoffs for an astounding 24th straight season and they will look to thrive in the underdog role starting in the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning. While many have come and gone while wearing the red and white the consistency of this team remains the same and while the talent level of each team is unique and of varying degrees it is hard to slight a group that has made it with such a level of consistency. However, this Red Wings team has had a bit ofa tough go this season as they haven't been able to secure a ton of momentum from the goaltender position and I think they'll be hard pressed keeping up with this Tampa team who is full of offense and underrated on defense. It looks like the Wings are going with Petr Mrazek to start as he will go up against Ben Bishop for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay meanwhile is heading in the opposite direction as they have been one of the game's best teams from start to finish this year and while they didn't get home ice throughout the playoffs they could very well regain it if a couple of upsets fabricate. The Bolts were the league's best offense during the regular season and while they underperformed in last year's playoffs they are at full health this year and it is time for Steven Stamkos to make the next jump and achieve playoff success. The Bolts to me are a team that can match up against anyone and their home record speaks for itself and for all of Detroit's playoff success I think they get hit in the mouth in this series as the Bolts take this one and keep rolling.