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Thu 21/04/2016 - 10:49 EDT

NHL Playoff Games Preview & Betting Lines

NHL Playoff Games Preview & Betting Lines
No team has been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs yet, but two teams are down to their last lifeline tonight, including the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Tampa Bay Lightning are poised to oust the Detroit Red Wings for the second straight spring.

NHL Playoff Games Predicitions

By Bob Duff

Detroit Red Wings (+146) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-162)

andy 

Down 3-1 in the series, the Red Wings are in danger of being eliminated in the first round for the third straight season and fourth time in five years.

Two of those three previous first-round ousters came in five games. The Red Wings are 2-18 all-time when trailing 3-1 in a playoff series and haven't rallied to win from that deficit since the 1992 first round against the Minnesota North Stars.

They've never done it when facing this scenario, needing to win two of three on the road. The Lightning scored three power-play goals in Game 4. The Red Wings have scored one power-play goal in the series.

Pick: The Lightning (-162)

Pittsburgh Penguins (-120) at New York Rangers (+109)

sutter 

Back for Game 3 for the first time since suffering a late-season upper body injury, Penguins goalie Matt Murray made 16 saves for the win in Game 3 and figures to get the nod again.

Regular netminder Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan juggled his lines in practice, moving Conor Sheary alongside Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist and dropping Chris Kunitz down to the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Eric Fehr.

Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, who has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, took part in an optional skate Wednesday and is listed as day to day.

Pick: The Rangers (+109) 

Anaheim Ducks (-105) at Nashville Predators (-105)

smith 

The home team is still looking for a win in this series. The Predators lost forward Craig Smith in the first period of Game 3 to a lower body injury and his status is listed as day to day. Colin Wilson would likely replace him on the second line with Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau indicated that he expected to go with the same lineup for Game 4. Anaheim would still like to reduce the time it spends in the penalty box. The Ducks took five penalites in Game 3.

Pick: The Ducks (-105) 

Chicago Blackhawks (+112) at St. Louis Blues (-124)

shaw

A Victory will give the Blues their first playoff series with since 2012. The Blackhawks haven't been eliminated in the first round of post-season play since 2011.

The Blues are 4-3 when leading 3-1 in a series, beating the Blackhawks twice via that scenario, in 1988 and 2002.

The Blackhawks tend to improve as a series goes along. Under coach Joel Quenneville they are 43-15 in Games 4-7 of a playoff set. Chicago will play without right-winger Andrew Shaw, suspended one game for uttering a homophobic slur in Game 4.

St. Louis defenseman Carl Gunnarsson missed Game 4 with an upper body injury and is day to day.

Pick: The Blackhawks (+112) 

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