The Tampa Bay Lightning are back in the black with wins in four straight games. On Sunday, they’ll travel on the road to face the Chicago Blackhawks just one night after winning in Minnesota. 

They might find the going tough against the reigning champs, though, as the Blackhawks have won six of their last seven at home and seven of their last eight at home against Tampa Bay. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…:

They have finally woken up. 

Tampa Bay LightningNot many people were expecting the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Southeastern Division this season even as they led it throughout most of the year, but they at least figured they’d be a pesky playoff team to face. Throughout most of February and March, the Lightning weren’t lending much credence to that argument. 

The Lightning endured a stretch where they posted just seven wins in 22 contests but that skid appears to be over. The Lightning have won four straight and with another good effort, could extend that winning streak.

Goaltender Dwayne Roloson has tightened things up in the back end as he’s allowed just four goals in his last three starts. Combined with his steady netminding, the offense has come together as well. 

Steve Downie is back after an ankle sprain and Ryan Malone is back after a groin injury that kept him out for five weeks. That finally meant that the Lightning have their top two lines back together, which marks just the 18th time this season that has been the case. 

With the full arsenal back in tow, this could be a sneaky-good team in the playoffs and a decent bet on Sunday. 

The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…: 

They are at home where life is good. 

Chicago BlackhawksOn the season, the Chicago Blackhawks 23-15-0 at the United Center and have won six of their last seven. In this series, they have won seven of their last eight at home. 

Everything just works a little better at home for the Blackhawks that it does on the road. Goaltender Corey Crawford is 17-10 at home versus 14-6-5 (or just 14-11 to bettors) on the road. While the Blackhawks average 3.05 goals per game on the road, they average 3.18 at home. Their power play converts at a 21.7 percent clip on the road but it climbs to 26.3 percent at home.

That’s why they call it “home-ice advantage”. 

The Lightning find themselves in a tough spot playing their third game in four nights, two of which were away. Chicago has won four of six and has been off since Friday, so they should be in good position to take advantage of the Lightning. 

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction: 

Tampa Bay is back on track with four straight wins but the edge here has to go to Chicago. They are fighting for their playoff lives and this contest simply means more to them than it does Tampa Bay. 

Beyond that, NHL odds makers are aware that the home-ice advantage figures to play a huge factor for the reasons mentioned above for Chicago combined with the fact that Tampa Bay is just 19-19 on the road this season.

Hockey bettors should take the Blackhawks to win this non-conference battle. 

Pick: Blackhawks