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NHL Picks: June 11

By Michael Harty

The Tampa Bay Lightning return to the bay with a chance to close out the series on home ice in front of what should be a raucous crowd at Amalie Arena. After rallying in game 5 to score in the dying seconds, Ondrej Palat delivered yet again in the final minutes of regulation breaking a 1-1 tie. The New King on Broadway; Igor Shesterkin could only do so much as he turned away 26 of 28 shots. It’s frightening to think the Lightning are doing all this without superstar centermen Brayden Point. 

This road performance was vintage Tampa Bay. Whenever this team seems to have their back against the wall, they answer and boy did they ever. Showing no signs of panic, the Lightning set the tempo from the start of puck drop in front of a rowdy crowd. The Rangers who have relied on special teams and goaltending to get to this point may have finally met their match. Andrei Vasilevsky who seemingly never shows any signs of nerves was once again near perfect in a must-win game. Only surrendering 1 powerplay to the opposing team, the Rangers virtually had no scoring chances. Losing the XGoal battle 3.2 to 1.77, the game went pretty much as the analytics would predict. The Rangers will need to come up with a solution on the road or they’ll be sent packing.

The Lightning were once again led by the top guns in Palat, Kucherov and Stamkos. Kucherov, who has been a popular player for me these playoffs without Point, was once again all over the ice registering a game-high 8 shot attempts. Like he has his entire career, he is truly delivering when it matters most. As someone who is holding Tampa Bay series bets at multiple different prices, I don’t see any value in laying -170 for the game although I do believe the series ends tonight. For my pick, I will be once again going back to the Kucherov well at + money. Given the home-ice split, and the way he’s performing I believe this line is way off and have been attacking it every game this series, clearing it in 3 out of 5. The last time I wrote about Kucherov 4 days ago it cashed, so I will be hoping for a similar result here. The old saying " If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is being put to the test here.

RECOMMENDED WAGER: NIKITA KUCHEROV Over 3.5 Shots on Goal (+130) at Caesars 

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