Tuesday's NHL odds favor the Tampa Bay Lightning by 1.5 points on the puck-line as they face the Florida Panthers, who are almost in a must win situation where the playoffs are concerned.
Face-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET tonight at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. According to NHL betting odds, the Lightning are a massive -189 favorite, with the total listed at 5.5 goals.
There's no confirmation as to who will be in net. We can only assume that we'll see a Roberto Luongo vs Ben Bishop matchup. The Lightning have to feel secure with Bishop in net as he's 36-11-4 on the season with a 2.31 GAA. In the month of March, Bishop is 5-1-1 with a 1.98 GAA; not too shabby.
As for Florida, who possess the 25th ranked offense in the league, Luongo has done the job, but hasn't gotten the goal support.He's 25-16-11 with a 2.32 GAA. This is almost identical to Ben Bishop, but the Lightning have a potent offense and the Panthers don't have a player with 50 points on their roster. The offenses could be the difference here. Florida has played well as of late, therefore let's not count them out just yet.
I remember mentioning the return of Ondrej Palat in one of my articles. Palat hadn't played for 10 days and is a big-time assist man. Immediately, Palat has made an impact in his two games back. He has 1 goal and 3 assists. He's coming off of a big game in a win over the Boston Bruins. Even with the time off, Palat has scored 9 points in the month of March to add to his total of 16 goals and 40 assists. You have to love his +30 in the plus/minus column and he could be a possible factor in this game for the best offensive team in the NHL.
Goal Scoring Machine
We can't talk about the Lightning without mentioning leading scorer, Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has been on a tear as of late with 6 goals and 3 assist in his last 10 games. For the season, Stamkos has 40 goals and 26 assists and is a power play fiend. Expect Stamkos to contribute in this game. Luongo is good, but he has no offensive backing and the pressure will be just too much for the Florida netmnder.
As I mentioned earlier, Florida is lacking in the offensive department, but the Panthers are still clawing their way for a playoff spot and it's a longshot. They're coming off of a 2-1 shootout victory against the Boston Bruins, but we must remember that Boston is offensively challenged also.
Florida's only chance is to keep the score down and that doesn't seem likely. Jimmy Hayes (18 goals and 13 assists) is coming off of a game in the win over Boston and Florida can only hope that Hayes carries his solid play over to this game.
Florida is no matchup for the Lightning's offense. Although you'll be laying a lot of juice with this NHL pick, it's for good reason, and Tampa seems like the logical play here.
NHL Pick- Tampa Bay -180 at YouWager