NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Devils (February 15)
Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Gillies (Devils)
Lightning vs. Devils Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Tampa Bay Lightning have been winning as of late, but these W’s have not come easily. In their last five games, the Lightning are 3-1-1, but all of these contests have been decided by one goal.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils have had a very strange last three games. They have won two of their last three and have combined for 16 goals during that span.
They lost their most recent game at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the matchup was relatively even for the full 60 minutes.
Lightning Strikes on Offense
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had yet another strong season. Tampa is currently in second place in the Atlantic division, with a 31-11-6 overall record and a 15-7-2 record on the road.
Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman have had outstanding campaigns, as expected. Hedman’s name seems to be involved in the Norris Trophy conversation every season, and right now, he’s leading all defenseman in points with 48 through 48 games.
Stamkos has had to battle injuries during the last couple of seasons, but he’s show true resilience and leadership this year, leading the team in scoring with 54 points in 47 games.
Tampa’s offense is never a concern. The Lightning are currently ranked seventh offensively, as they’re scoring 3.35 goals per game while they’re only expected to be scoring 2.96 goals per 60.
The Lightning haven’t necessarily been lighting up the scoreboard lately. They’re scoring goals, but at a pretty average pace. Tampa has seven goals in its last 3 games, which is good, not great.
Goaltending is another area that’s not much of a concern for Tampa. Andrei Vasilevskiy is arguably the best goalie on the planet, and he’s having another fantastic season.
Vasilevskiy is 25-8-4 this season, with a .923 save percentage and a +17.3 Goals Saved Above Expected. He should be named the starter tonight.
Down Go the Devils?
The New Jersey Devils have fallen off after having a pretty decent start to the season. The Devils are 17-27-5, but they’re 10-12-3 at home.
Losing Jack Hughes to injury really set this team back, but he’s back in the lineup and making a difference.
Goaltending has been the biggest crutch for this New Jersey Devils team. Jon Gillies has been starting on a consistent basis for New Jersey, and he’s posted a record of 3-7-0 with a .898 save percentage and a -6.1 GSAx.
The Devils have been solid on the defensive end in front of their goaltenders, as they’re only expected to give up 2.8 goals per game, but they’re averaging 3.51 goals against.
The last time these two teams met, the Devils had a very strong showing, as they got 33 shots on goal. They had a hard time beating Vasilevskiy, though, as they fell short by a score of 3-2.
New Jersey can keep up with Tampa, but it’s going to have to find a way get traffic in front of Vasilevskiy because it’s very hard to score on him.
Lightning vs. Devils Pick
Tampa Bay is the much better team going into this matchup, which is why it’s such a heavy favorite. Even though Tampa is the better team, it’s been struggling as of late to put teams away.
If the Lightning let the Devils stick around in this one, they might not like the result.
New Jersey has been playing up to its competition as of late, and it showed that it can compete with Tampa in the last meeting. The Devils can come out and surprise people tonight, especially with a healthy Hughes, who scored a goal and had five shots on goal in their last contest.
Vasilevskiy is coming off of a very strong, 44-save performance against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, and he might still be recovering from that.
There’s room to take the home underdog in this one even though the numbers might not suggest that. The Devils are a much better team than their record shows, and I don’t know if they’ll win this one outright, but I like them to cover the puck line.
Pick: New Jersey Devils +1.5 -115
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