Tampa Bay Lightning (45-30-5) at New Jersey Devils (37-35-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 7, 2016, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils +145 / Tampa Bay Lightning -175 --- Over/Under:
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The Lightning look to finish the season with some momentum heading into the playoffs as they head into New Jersey to face off with the Devils.
The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered the worst possible fate they could have heading down the stretch of their regular season and while they are playoff bound they will have to find success without their captain and offensive leader, Steven Stamkos. The Bolts lost their heart and soul as Stamkos is sidelined for a few months after having surgery to remove a blood clot and while he could return if they go on an extended playoff run, it seems highly unlikely they will be able to get there without him. Ben Bishop has had a very strong season in the Tampa Bay crease but without the offensive prowess and the nagging injury to defenseman Victor Hedman, it is making things very difficult on Bishop who can’t single handily carry the team through the Atlantic bracket.
The Devils meanwhile fell short of their Cinderella run at a wild card berth as they will finish the season at or above the .500 mark and have certainly laid the ground work of a team that can make some noise in the coming years. New Jersey has had a very strong year in their own third as both Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid have played extremely well and when you add in third stringer Scott Wedgewood I think it is easy to say that they have been in the mix as the best trio of netminders in the league this season. Kinkaid is slated in to start in this one and while the Lightning are the team heading to the playoffs I think they are in big trouble and I like the home side to get the win and secure a winning season.