The Great One
David Kelly is a Toronto-born hockey analyst with multiple advanced degrees. His academic work includes five years of empirical NHL research, including home/visiting team performance and penalty/power play effects on Over/Unders. During the 2017 NHL playoffs, he correctly predicted 39 out of 50 Over/Unders, a stunning win rate of 78 percent. He continues to pursue new and innovative models of in-depth statistical analysis of NHL game outcomes and predictive modeling for peak player performances. For David Kelly media inquiries, contact SportsLine@CBSInteractive.com.
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216-144-8 IN LAST 368 NHL PICKS | +5571
Tonight?s the night we find everything out about this series. First, we will find out how much heart Tampa Bay has, after all thee Lightning are down 2-0 in games, have lost home0ice advantage, and to win the series will have to go a minimum of six games deep. In any case, Washington has a distinct advantage and has surprised most pundits with their aggressive, almost abrasive style of pressing play. It seems almost trite to say they hold all the cards, but one can hardly imagine that Tampa will lose again. I?m not sure they have the answers to what Washington is bringing but I do know that this game almost certainly has to be tighter tonight and that?s the rationale behind the under play tonight. Take UNDER 6 and watch the continuing story unfold.
216-144-8 IN LAST 368 NHL PICKS | +5571
I like the Jets. I like the Jets a lot, but let's look at the numbers, shall we? Winnipeg did on Saturday what it does to just about everybody, it tried bouncing the Golden Knights out the arena. While they did have a large number of recorded hits, so did Vegas in response, and that must have made Jets Coach Paul Maurice sit up and take notice. What does stand out is the takeaway number, which was dominated by the Jets, 10-1. In an evenly played, hard-hitting contest like Game 1, turnovers are often the deciding factor in the outcome. Previous series have favored the Knights but as I stated, We are now in Winnipeg, Toto." Maybe the "Wizard of Vegas" Gerard Gallant has something left behind the curtain, but after Monday the Knights might be saying, "I just want to go home." Take Winnipeg to win at a great value again.
Washington struck first, unexpectedly I might add, but remember the Bruins struck first last series only to incur the wrath of the Lightning who then proceeded to win four straight. I'm not expecting the same thing to happen in this series, but then again it very easily could. Tampa looked flat in Game 1, so much so that it could only manage 10 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes but did "win" the third period and outhit the Capitals by a wide margin. Washington did an excellent job at blocking shots throughout the game and thwarting penetration by the Lightning offense. I suggest there won't be as much malaise on the Bolts' part on Sunday and Washington should have its hands full from the get-go. I'm taking a strong play on the Over 6.0 with a lean towards a Tampa win.
Washington pulls off the Game 1 shocker in the Eastern finals and there is a collective sigh of relief in Winnipeg because the Jets would match up much better against the Capitals than the Lightning, in my estimation. But first, the Jets have to deal with the Golden Knights, who have been brilliantly handled by Coach Gerard Gallant and held together by star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The potential problem for Vegas is that it hasn't met an attacking team with speed to burn like Winnipeg, which can apply exhausting pressure in the neutral and offensive zones. I see the Jets winning this game handily, but as we saw in the Caps on Friday, the teams who have made it this far are here for a reason. Take the Jets at a great price (-145) and watch two great teams in action.
So, here's the deal. The Lightning have been the dominant Eastern team because they are fast, highly skilled and not shy about playing very physical defense. The addition of Chris Kunitz has been a key factor in bringing Stanley Cub experience to the lineup, and the squad is playing like it means business this season. For all the speculation about Steven Stamkos leaving Tampa before the season started, we now see that he was right in staying. The Lightning have a great shot to bring home hockey's biggest prize back to Florida. First though are the Capitals, fresh off a landmark win over archrival Pittsburgh. On paper, the Caps appear to be overmatched, but the game isn't played on paper. Tampa Bay should be able to mix it up and score against a Washington defense that has trouble containing Nikita Kucherov, Stamkos and Alex Killorn. The key to any hope the Capitals may have is to be on the plus side of the special-teams ledger, but Tampa is not a highly penalized team which can be problematic. The Lightning are good at home, have vastly superior goaltender, are bigger, more rugged defensemen and more explosive firepower. Give up the 1.5 goals and ride Tampa to a decisive Game 1 conference final victory.
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