Holmqvist Hopes to Lead Lightning to 3-1 Lead Print
Written by TheSpread   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 07:22
NHL Headline News

Holmqvist Likes the Attention

Surrounded by a pack of reporters in the Tampa Bay Lightning locker room, goalie Johan Holmqvist conceded that he enjoys the attention that comes with being in the NHL playoffs.

``This is what you play the whole year for,'' the 28-year-old native of Sweden said. ``When the media comes around, it's a bonus.''

Oddsmakers have made New Jersey -115 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on New Jersey -115 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

The way he's playing in his first postseason series, Holmqvist may have to get used to it. Goaltending was expected to be the difference in his team's first-round matchup against New Jersey, however most people gave the edge to the Devils because of Martin Brodeur.

But while Holmqvist has rebounded from a shaky performance in a Game 1 loss to help Tampa Bay take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, Brodeur has allowed nine goals in the three games.

Holmqvist stopped 30 shots in Tampa Bay's 3-2 victory Monday night, and the seventh-seeded Lightning can push the second-seeded Devils to the brink of elimination by winning Game 4 Wednesday night.

``Everybody has to step up their game including me,'' Brodeur said. ``We're right there. It's just a question of getting ourselves believing that we can do it.''

The Lightning's success against Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup champion who entered the series with a 1.89 goals-against average in 153 career playoff games, isn't a total surprise. After all, Tampa Bay won three of four regular-season meetings and have a potent offense led by 100-point scorers Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.

But Holmqvist's inexperience was considered a liability. He entered with just 52 career regular-season games under his belt, 48 of them this season - his first with the Lightning after spending parts of three with the New York Rangers.

Instead of pointing fingers after the postseason novice allowed five goals on 24 shots in Game 1, the Lightning rallied around Holmqvist and encouraged him to relax and simply play his game.

``We help each other,'' he said. ``I was a little bit too anxious, too nervous, and I didn't go out and do what I was supposed to do. They were just pushing me to go out there and have fun and enjoy it. This is a great time to play hockey.''

Holmqvist responded by stopping 34 shots to win Game 2 at New Jersey, then stonewalled the media when he didn't make himself available for interviews in the locker room.

Turns out that was coach John Tortorella's idea. After hearing from the NHL office on the subject, the Lightning have provided access to the goaltender.

``I'm the one who didn't want him talking to you numbskulls. It wasn't him, so I don't want him looked at in the wrong way,'' Tortorella said before Game 3.

``He needs the experience dealing with (reporters). Every goalie does. But in my mind, I wanted him to get his feet wet a little bit and worry about getting himself back in this series.''

Mission accomplished.

Still, both teams stress that it's far from over. New Jersey can regain home-ice advantage by winning Game 4.

And, the Devils do still have Brodeur, one of the most successful playoff goalies in league history.

``I never worry about Marty Brodeur,'' New Jersey coach Lou Lamoriello said. ``Never have. Never will.''

Brodeur, who's 7-10 in the playoffs since winning the 2003 Stanley Cup, expects to play better. At the same time, his teammates have to find a way to convert more opportunities against Holmqvist.

``He's giving us chances,'' Brodeur said. ``He's giving us the puck back on rebounds. ... We've just got to bury it more.''

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NHL Hockey coverage from theSpread.com

 - NHL Hockey news wire
 - NHL top stories
 - Current NHL injuries
 - NHL Hockey schedule
 - NHL Hockey standings
 - NHL goalie stats
 - NHL Hockey scoreboard
 - NHL Hockey odds
 - NHL public betting charts
 - Expert NHL Picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NHL Home

 

NHL Team Pages

Top NHL Public Bets

View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NHL Futures

NHL TEAM CUP FINALS ODDS CURRENT
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 13/2
LOS ANGELES KINGS 9/1
BOSTON BRUINS 10/1
ANAHEIM DUCKS 12/1
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 12/1
ST LOUIS BLUES 12/1
SAN JOSE SHARKS 14/1
MINNESOTA WILD 16/1
NEW YORK RANGERS 16/1
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 16/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com