While the matchup might look lame, I do think that the home team holds some great value for our NHL picks in this spot, as Tampa Bay has been playing with some fire since the firing of Guy Boucher.
Record: 106-113 (-19)
The Florida Panthers can win because…
Have won two straight and are playing well right now. The Panthers might be the worst team in the Eastern Conference – and the NHL – but it’s not as if Tampa Bay is significantly better. The Lightning have just three more points than their Florida neighbors.
People making their sports picks should have some pause laying -160 with the Lightning. Even though they’ve won two straight, they had won just four of their 15 games before that. These teams are evenly matched rivals, so the Panthers could be a very live road dog on Tuesday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning can win because…
They have been sparked by the change behind the bench. The Lightning have won two straight since head coach Jon Cooper took over but more important is that they’ve looked like an inspired team. The Lightning scored a last-second goal in their latest contest against New Jersey and then stole the game in a shootout.
Tampa Bay has won four straight at home and playing in front of their home audience should be a decided advantage on the NHL odds. The Panthers have lost 12 of their 17 road games this season.
Outlook & Pick
Laying this kind of juice with Tampa Bay is crazy. However, I’ll take a flier on the puck line as the Lightning have been playing well. Florida is a terrible road bet, losing three straight while scoring just three goals in the process. Let’s hope the Lightning’s fired up efforts continue (at least one more night) and they cover the spread for us.NHL Pick: Lightning -1.5 +183 at Pinnacle