NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Bruins (March 24)
Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Vasilevskiy
- Thursday's Lightning-Bruins matchup is a tight one between two Eastern Conference contenders.
- But while the matchup is intriguing, the focus from a betting perspective should be on the total.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Lightning vs. Bruins Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
We have an Atlantic Division tilt on Thursday as the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Boston to take on the fourth-place Bruins. This is the third meeting between these two teams this season; the first matchup went under the total and the second went over.
Will we see two dominant goaltenders continue their stellar play, or will we see the lamp lit often once again?
Lightning Led by Vasilevskiy
The Tampa Bay Lightning enter this contest following a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. This loss was yet another low-scoring affair for this Tampa Bay team as the total goals scored have gone under 5.5 in six straight games.
The primary reason for these low-scoring games has been the great goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy, this matchup's projected starter. The total goals scored have gone under 5.5 in five straight starts for Vasilevskiy as he has been on fire between the pipes.
Over those five starts, Vasilevskiy boasts an outstanding 0.932 save percentage and a 2.2 goals allowed average. These great starts should not be a surprise for one of the world's best goaltenders, who now has a 0.927 save percentage on home ice this season and ranks sixth among starting goaltenders in five-on-five goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx).
Spearheaded by superstar defenseman Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay's blue line has been in terrific form in front of Vasilevskiy and should be able to slow down a talented Bruins offense. This season, the Lightning rank seventh in the league in five-on-five expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA).
Bruins Rested, Solid Defensively
The Boston Bruins enter this contest on two days rest following Monday's 3-2 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens. Much like the Lightning, this game was another low-scoring affair for Boston, which has seen three of its last five games go under 5.5 total goals scored.
Also similar to Tampa Bay, Boston has seen low-scoring games due to excellent starts from Jeremy Swayman. Swayman is the projected starting goaltender for this matchup and has seen the total go under 5.5 in two of his last three starts.
Over those three starts, Swayman boasts a solid 0.922 save percentage and a 2.33 goals allowed average. Swayman has emerged as not only of the best rookie goaltenders in the league this season but one of the best netminders overall.
This season, Swayman ranks eighth among starting goaltenders in five-on-five goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx). Boston's blue line deserves a ton of credit as well, as the Bruins currently rank first in the league in five-on-five expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA).
Lightning vs. Bruins Pick
The total goals scored have gone under 5.5 in three of the last four meetings between these division foes. I expect that trend to continue as both teams are projected to start one of the league's best goaltenders.
Not only do we have great goaltenders in this matchup, but both defenses are stacked as well and should make life difficult for two talented forward groups.
Pick: Lightning/Bruins u5.5 (-105) | Play up to (-120)