Devils vs. Lightning Prediction

New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 4/12/18, Prediction & Odds

The Tampa Bay Lightning earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs on the final day of the regular season. That drew them a series with the eighth-seeded New Jersey Devils, which starts tonight. Will Tampa Bay get its postseason off to a roaring start with a victory in Game 1?

Game Snapshot & Odds

9 New Jersey Devils at 10 Tampa Bay Lightning

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Amalie Arena at 7PM ET

TV: NHL Network

Public Betting Information

According to oddsmakers at YouWager, the Lightning are -220 on the moneyline. The Devils are +180, while the over-under is set at 5.5 goa.s As of Thursday morning, 61 percent of public bets are coming in on the host Lightning. Check our NHL Public Betting Page for up-to-date information.

Stamkos expected to play

Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos has been the team's biggest star pretty much as soon as he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2008. He has been a point-per-game player for his entire career, but the only thing holding him back are an assortment of injuries throughout his career. Most seasons including the current one, he has only missed a game here or there. But in three seasons, he including last year he has missed significant time with an injury. Stamkos, despite being only 28 years old, recently said his body will never feel 100 percent again which is a depressing thing to year. Stamkos enters this postseason with a minor lower body injury, but is expected to play in Game 1 even if he isn't at his peak. If on the ice, expect Stamkos to make a huge difference for the NHL-best offense. He has 27 goals and 59 assists in 78 games played this season. 

Devils back in playoffs for first time since 2012

While New Jersey barely squeaked back into the playoffs this season, it is a sign things are heading in the right direction. This wont be an easy matchup by any means against the loaded Lightning, who sport the aforementioned best offense in the NHL (3.5 goals per game) and 13th defensively (2.9). Meanwhile, the Devils are 15th in offense (3.0) and 17th in defense (2.9). New Jersey will need a huge effort from its star, Taylor Hall (39 goals and 54 assists in 76 games), while goaltenders Keith Kincaid (2.77 GAA, .913 save pct.) and Cory Schneider (2.93 GAA, .907 save pct.) will have to stand on their head all series depending on who gets the call. If the goalie in Game 1 puts forth a huge effort, expect the Devils to ride the hot hand as long as they can.

NHL Betting Trends

New Jersey

The home team is5-1 in the last six meetings. The under is 2-0-2 in the last four Devils conference quarterfinals games. New Jersey is 4-0 in its last four games against the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay

The Lightning are 1-4 in the last five meetings with the Devils. The under is 5-0 in the last five Tampa Bay games playing on three or more days of rest. The over is 4-0-1 in the last five Lightning games played on Thursday.

Prediction: As much as I'd love to hit the nail on the head with a huge Game 1 upset pick, I don't have the guts to go down that road. I'd also rather not bet on such a big favorite as the return won't be great and the risk is not worth it. I'm instead looking at the over here. The Lightning offense has been consistent all season, but their defense has slipped a little as the season has progressed. If Hall or anyone else on the Devils can have a big game, this game will fly over the total as I don't imagine New Jersey has what it takes to hold down the Tampa Bay offense.

 

NHL DAILY PREDICTION: DEVILS/LIGHTNING OVER 5.5

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