NHL Pick Influenced by Home/Road Dichotomy: Canucks/Lightning

David Lawrence

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 12:52 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 12:52 PM GMT

The Vancouver Canucks are doing the Florida two-step with a matchup against the Panthers on Monday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The latter contest will be much more challenging as the Lightning are one of the best teams in the NHL, which is why they’re the hockey betting favorite here.

The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
They’re once again on a roll. They’ve won three straight games – all on the road – and are playing extremely well at the defensive end. They posted back-to-back shut outs against the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes last week before giving up one goal to the Florida Panthers. On the season, the Canucks give up just 2.61 goals per game on the road, which is the ninth-best number.

The Lightning have built up their record beating up against the East’s weaklings but facing teams with a winning record has been a different story. Tampa Bay is 20-10 against teams below .500 but just 9-8 versus winning teams. The Canucks are 10-5 when on the road with a total of 5.5 and if you like you’re wacky stats, they are also 7-3 when playing on Tuesdays. Vancouver will have a good shot in this spot and you’re getting them as a huge road dog, so they could be worth the price of admission here.

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…
They’re one of the best home bets in the NHL. The Lightning have won 18 of their 23 games on their home ice and have won seven straight in front of the home audience. That’s an excellent reason to take them when looking at the NHL odds. 

Goaltender Ben Bishop is back and healthy, and he’s been thriving again. He’s won five of six January starts and is very tough to beat at home. At the friendly confines, he’s 16-3-1 with a 1.99 GAA and .927 save percentage. That’s a steep upgrade from his .890 save percentage and 2.94 GAA on the road.

Vancouver will be in a tight spot here with the back-to-back situation and that might allow the Lightning to dodge Miller if the Canucks elect not to start him on consecutive nights.

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Outlook
This is a challenging game to handicap because we’ve got two quality teams here. The Canucks are 15-7-2 on the road, which means that no team in the NHL has more road wins than Vancouver. Meanwhile, the Lightning’s 18 home wins are the most in the NHL as well.

With the price tag being as high as it is, I’ll stay away from the side and focus on the total. Vancouver has gone over the five-goal mark just once in their last 11 games, so we should be looking at a low-scoring game. And that’s even more the case if we get Miller in net as he’s been red-hot. The under is 12-7 when Tampa Bay is at home with a total of 5.5 and 9-5 when Vancouver plays a team with a winning record. Go under the number with your NHL picks here.

NHL Pick: Under 5.5 at Pinnacle

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