Hurricanes vs. Lightning Odds, Pick, Prediction: Defensive Stalwarts Will Limit Scoring (March 29)
Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Vincent Trocheck #16 and Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes
Hurricanes vs. Lightning Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
Tampa ousted the Canes in five games during last year’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal, and should offer a great test Metro Division-leading Hurricanes as they prepare for what will hopefully be a lengthier postseason run.
Will we see a playoff style battle Tuesday?
Hurricanes Defense Keeps Getting Better
Carolina’s 6-1 pummeling of the Capitals on Monday was the ideal way to get through the first leg of a road back-to-back against a pair of rivals, and playing a laugher Monday should help to allow the Canes to be better prepared for this one.
Having allowed just the one goal Monday, Carolina now holds a 2.35 goals against per game average this season, which is the best mark in the league by a considerable margin.
Carolina have consistently played to that defensive identity throughout the last 10 games, having allowed just a 2.05 expected goals against per 60 rate over that span.
Goaltender Frederik Andersen has been a huge part of the story with regards to Carolina’s excellent goals against marks, but I do feel that his excellent numbers are assisted by Carolina’s sharpness in front of goal.
Both Andersen and backup Antti Raanta are having massive turnaround’s in form this season compared to last, and to me that is a sign that Carolina’s style in front of them is paying off in a big way. Not to discredit that both have played well this season.
Raanta will get the start here for the Hurricanes, and has played to a +6.9 goals saved above expected mark with a .919 save percentage through 20 games this season.
Lightning Looking a Little Sharper
The defending champions have certainly looked listless at times throughout March, skating through a rough scheduling patch which had it logging a lot of miles on the road playing 10 away games, and 14 games altogether, in a 27-day stretch.
You can’t blame them, as it’s hard to say what playoff placement in the crowded Atlantic Division will ultimately even offer the softest competition, with the four top team’s only likely to finish a handful of wins apart.
We saw a very well-played playoff style contest Sunday against the Islanders, in which the Lightning looked fully engaged and playing to their strengths. This should set up as another big spot for the Lightning to continue playing out the stretch in better form, as they look to dial in to top form for a hopeful three-peat this spring.
The Lightning have been playing in a ton of low scoring hockey games of late, with a combined game total average of 4.33 over their last nine games. Facing a close rival who excel defensively, I can’t imagine they are gearing up for this one expecting much different.
Andrei Vasilevskiy should get the start for Tampa, and has followed his Conn Smythe Trophy win with another tremendous season as you would expect, playing to a +26.4 goals saved above expected rating with a .92O save percentage throughout 51 games.
Hurricanes vs. Lightning Pick
There is definitely a budding rivalry between these two clubs and I expect Carolina to get up for this one even after last night’s contest in Washington, and look to put together a really sharp effort here in a playoff tuneup.
Both teams excel in their ability to limit the opposition offensively when true to form, and I am expecting a playoff type battle here in which both teams make the other truly work to generate high quality chances.
Something similar to what we saw in Tampa’s last contest Sunday against the Islanders is what I am expecting here. That was a really hard-fought and well-played game from both sides, and I believe we are going to see the Lightning start to look more engaged down the stretch.
I like the under 5.5 at -105 here, and would play it down to -120. FanDuel has -103 as of Tuesday morning, and MGM has a -105.
Pick: Under 5.5 (Play to -120)