The Florida Panthers come into this game off a bad home loss to the Buffalo Sabres, which was their 6th loss in their last seven games, while the Tampa Bay Lightning come in off a 3-1 win over Calgary, but that was just their third win in their last 10 games.
Florida Panthers (6-7-2-1 SU, 9-7 PL, 5-5-6 OU) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (8-8-1-1 SU, 7-11 PL, 5-10-3 OU)
Odds: Tampa Bay -160
Offensive Issues Are Hurting The Panthers
The Florida Panthers have lost six of their last seven games and the issues of the team are linked to the fact that they just can’t score right now. Based on the current NHL odds, online sportsbooks are giving them little chance in finding that magic touch tonight. After Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Buffalo, the Panthers have now scored two goals or less in 6 of their last seven games. All six of those were losses. In fact if we go back further we see that the Panthers are 0-10 this year when they score two goals or less and 6-0 when they score three or more. Still the Panthers are 14th in the league in scoring at 2.7 gpg and they have the 6th best power play in the league, but they have put up just 1.9 GPG in their last seven games.
The defense has been solid for the Panthers this year as they rank 14th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.4 gpg. Taking the loss in the game vs Buffalo was Roberto Luongo who is now 4-8 with a 2.42 GAA on the year. In his last seven starts he is just 2-7 and has allowed three or more goals in seven of those games. Luongo is 13-17 with a 2.57 GAA in his career vs the Lightning.
Ben Bishop Finally Gets Some Goal Support
Bishop has been solid in goal for the Lightning as he has a 2.15 GAA on the year so far, but thanks to lack of offense he is just 6-8 so far. Bishop had another solid outing vs the Flames and this time his offense did enough to get him the win. Tampa Bay won the game 3-1 and Mr. Bishop had 31 saves in the game to snap his five game losing streak, which he allowed two goals or less in all five games. HIs mates scored a total of three goals in the five losses for him.
Bishop should get the start here and he is 6-1 with a 1.93 GAA vs Florida in his career. Brian Boyle, Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson all scored for the Lightning, who are now ranked 24th in the league in scoring, after ranking 8th in that department last year. Defensively the Lightning are ranked 7th in the league in goals allowed, giving up just 2.3 gpg.
Trends for Florida
15-39 in their last 54 when their opponent allows two goals or less in their previous game
3-14 in the last 17 meetings
Trends for Tampa Bay
39-18 in their last 57 home games
10-3 in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400
Both teams are struggling, but I am backing Tampa Bay with my NHL picks, as I see the Lightning as the team that has a better shot at breaking out. They are off a nice 3-1 home win over Calgary, in which their offense cane through for Ben Bishop. The Panthers can’t score at all right now and Bishop should have another solid outing here, especially since he is 6-1 with a 1.93 GAA vs the Panthers in his career. Tampa Bay has owned this series of late and that should continue here.
Free NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -169 at BetOnline