NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Panthers (February 6)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Panthers (February 6) article feature image

Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy

  • The Panthers host the Lightning to open up the NHL's second half.
  • Tampa Bay went into the All-Star Break on a three-game winning streak and will look to continue that momentum.
  • Continue reading for Carol Schram's best bet and analysis for the game.

Lightning vs. Panthers Odds

Lightning Odds-120
Panthers Odds+100
Over/Under6.5 (-134/+110)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Battle of Florida headlines a six-game slate as NHL action resumes Monday following the All-Star Break.

After playing host to the weekend's all-star festivities, the Florida Panthers will continue their push for a playoff spot when they host their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Here's a breakdown of the matchup, and your best bet for the game.

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Tampa Bay Lightning

After a so-so start to the season (by their standards), the Lightning have stepped up their game since the Christmas break. They're 12-4-0 since Dec. 27, with all four losses coming on the road.

After sweeping the Panthers out of the playoffs last spring, the Lightning have also come out on top in both meetings this season. Tampa Bay won 3-2 in overtime on the road to open the season, then 4-1 at home on Dec. 10.

The Lightning, of course, are strong in all aspects. They have lots of offensive firepower, effective special teams and all-star Andrei Vasilevskiy delivering his usual steady work in net. Tampa Bay is playing the first game of a back-to-back set on Monday night, and will host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The Panthers should be the tougher competition, so Vasilevskiy will likely get the nod Monday.

Florida Panthers

The Panthers come out of the All-Star Break with questions regarding their goaltending. With Spencer Knight and Sergei Bobrovsky dealing with injury issues, Alex Lyon was recalled from the AHL and played the Panthers final six games before the break. In that stretch, he went 3-2-1 with -2.6 goals saved above expected.

All three goalies practiced Sunday and it was reported that both Knight and Bobrovsky could be ready to return to action, but a decision on a starter won't be made until Monday morning.

Coach Paul Maurice also said the break was good for a number of his players who had been playing through nagging issues.

Sitting three points out of a wild-card spot as the season resumes, the Panthers play with good structure, but have struggled to keep the puck out of their net. Some of that falls on the goaltenders, though a weak penalty kill has been an issue. Although, although Florida was a perfect 6-for-6 when shorthanded in the final two games before the break.

Lightning vs. Panthers Pick

It's a little tricky trying to handicap how teams will come back from an extended break. All-star participants like Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov, Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov could be worn out after a busy few days — though at least there wasn't any significant travel involved for those players. Other players might be a bit rusty after some time away from the rink. Or, they could be feeling revitalized and refreshed.

Given their professional track record over the past few years, the Lightning will likely be dialed in and ready to go. Additionally, the Panthers could get a boost from seeing their goaltending situation starting to re-stabilize.

Overall, the Lightning are the better team and have a strong track record against the Panthers. Look for the visitors to come out on top again on Monday.

Pick: Lightning Moneyline | Play Down to -135

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