Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Louis Domingue
Betting odds: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning
- Rangers moneyline: +215
- Lightning moneyline: -260
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. ET
There are a handful of teams at the 30-game mark in the NHL season and the playoff race is still a mess, especially in the Eastern Conference where no team is more than five points out of the playoffs.
The picture is a little bit clearer in the Western Conference, but even the Arizona Coyotes — seven points out of the final Wild Card spot — have games in hand on every team ahead of them.
Of course just because you’re still in the thick of the race doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. Thanks to the NHL’s current point system, we’re used to the cream slowly rising to the top.
One of those teams that’s still “in the hunt” but will likely fall off is the New York Rangers and they just happen to be playing the best team in the NHL tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Tampa Bay’s recent run of form — it’s on a six-game winning streak and has won nine of its last 10 and 11 of its last 13 — is that the Bolts are putting up great results despite some suspect goaltending.
Starting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has been out with a fractured foot Nov. 15 and No. 2 goalie Louis Domingue has not been a world-beater in his absence. I always wondered why Tampa Bay never got a better insurance option than Domingue, who has never been very good.