Key Matchup-

Nikita Kucherov vs. Pavel Datsyuk will likely to be the main story of this series. Kucherov has become an offensive threat for the Lightning over the last season. Datsyuk is a legend and still has impressive two-way play and has no issue getting shots on net. The two Russian players will keep the series interesting.

Detroit Red Wings-

Winning Formula: 

The Red Wings thrive when they pursue the puck and keep control the way they had under Mike Babcock. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are still two of hockey’s most elite two-way forwards and the Lightning will find their hands full dealing with the two talented players. Dylan Larkin will likely remain a force on the team adding numbers to the scoreboard throughout the series.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less: 

Detroit has been inconsistent over the last year under new coach Jeff Blashill. The Red Wings were a team with an identity that lead to success before Blashill took over, but since the team has struggled to remember the legacy they are and how they got to that point. They remain a top ten possession team, but they rely heavily on Datsyuk and Zetterberg for wins and when in the playoffs two players aren’t going to keep a floundering team afloat.

Tampa Bay Lightning-

Winning Formula:

Victor Hedman has been a powerful defensive force for the Bolts. Hedman’s partner Anton Stralman fell to injury, but the fan’s shouldn’t be worried overly as Hedman has shown he is capable of doing his job in Stralman’s absence leading up to this series. Steven Stamkos is out one to three months with a blood clot and he will be missed, but fortunately for the Lightning have tremendous depth and are able to produce from every line.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  

The power play seems to be the bane of the Lightning’s existence. As of late March, they were third in the league in time spent on the power play while they had the worst success rate of all the teams in the playoffs on the power play. The Lightning focus heavily on defense during the power play and lose the opportunity for offensive production.

Prediction: Lightning in 6

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