NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Lightning vs. Jets (January 6)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck
- The Lightning face the Jets on Friday night in what should be a competitive matchup.
- Both sides have elite goaltenders, which may lend value to the total.
- Jonny Lazarus breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Lightning vs. Jets Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The Tampa Bay Lightning have won four out of their last five games, although their most recent game wasn’t very enjoyable for them as they lost 5-1 on the road in Minnesota–but to be fair Brian Elliott was in goal, not Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Winnipeg Jets are currently riding a three-game winning streak thanks to the play of their goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck, who has been outstanding.
This should be a fun hockey game between two strong teams with excellent goaltending. Find a preview and prediction for Lightning vs. Jets below.
Lightning Offense Has Been Electric
The Tampa Bay Lightning never get enough credit during the regular season. They have won the Eastern Conference three straight years, yet they are forgotten about until playoff time.
Anyone who watches hockey knows that they have the best goalie in the world in Vasilevskiy, who has won five out of his last six starts and is entering this game boasting a .921 save percentage with a 2.42 goals against average. It’s no secret that the Lightning are strong defensively, mostly thanks to Vasilevskiy, but it’s underrated how electric they have been offensively this season.
The Bolts are currently sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division, but they are only four points back of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs. Tampa quietly has the fifth-highest scoring offense in the league right now, averaging 3.51 goals per game, and their power play happens to be the fifth-best in the league as well, scoring on 27.5% of their opportunities.
Tampa’s offense will be tested tonight against a very strong opposing goalie in Connor Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck Carrying the Jets
The Winnipeg Jets have been amazing this season in response to a disappointing year last season. They are currently three points back of first place in the Central Division, so this would be a huge win for them if they take down the Lightning.
Similar to the Lightning, the Jets go as their goaltending goes, and this year, Hellebuyck has been nothing short of incredible. He enters this game with the second-most wins in the NHL (19), only two behind the league leader Linus Ullmark. Hellebuyck is rocking a .928 save percentage with a 2.31 goals against average along with the league’s third-best +18.6 Goals Saved Above Expected.
The Jets haven’t been as consistent offensively as they’d like, but Kyle Connor is still leading the way for this team. They have also had a surprisingly incredible showing from their defenseman Josh Morrissey, who is second in scoring for his position with seven goals and 36 assists in 38 games played. As a team, the Jets are scoring 3.18 goals per game, and their power play is in the middle of the pack, converting at 23.1%.
Hellebuyck will definitely bring a strong performance, but the Jets offense will need to step it up if they want to beat the Lightning.
Lightning vs. Jets Pick
The Tampa Bay Lightning definitely know how to score goals, but this matchup is going to be all about goaltending.
Hellebuyck and Vasilevskiy are two of the best goalies in the entire NHL, and they have both been red hot as of late. Both of them have only allowed five goals against in their last three starts each.
This should be a very tightly played, low scoring contest, and consequently, I like the under.
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