Lightning vs Panthers Odds, Prediction, Pick for Saturday, March 16

Lightning vs Panthers Odds, Prediction, Pick for Saturday, March 16 article feature image

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Brayden Point.

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning (35-25) and Florida Panthers (45-18) clash on Saturday night at Amerant Bank Arena.
  • Lightning vs Panthers odds have the Panthers as -160 moneyline favorites. The game total over/under is set at 6.

Lightning vs Panthers Odds, Prediction, Pick for Saturday, March 16

Saturday, March 16
6 p.m. ET
Lightning Odds+135
Panthers Odds-160
Over / Under
-120o / +100u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Lightning vs Panthers on Saturday, March 16 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

Coming off a big win over the Rangers on Thursday, the Lightning will be looking to close out their season series against their cross-state rivals by taking two points from the NHL's top team.

After sneaking into the playoffs last year, the Panthers have come back to prove that their run to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final was no fluke, and they're looking toward another meaningful playoff run this spring. Back home after a tough loss in Carolina on Thursday, the Panthers could be poised to record back-to-back losses for the first time since mid-January.

Let's dive into our Lightning vs Panthers prediction and preview.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Sitting in the first wild-card spot in the East heading into Saturday's game, the Lightning are on unfamiliar turf in the standings. But they're still well-positioned to be one of the eight teams from their conference that will be doing battle when the playoffs begin in a month's time.

The Lightning's 6-3 win over the Rangers on Thursday is a perfect example of their offensive explosiveness, headlined by big nights from Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov.

Former Panther Anthony Duclair, a trade-deadline pickup, brings speed and scoring to Tampa Bay's top six. He has goals in his first two games with his new team, and Matt Dumba has also come in to lend a hand on the blue line.

True to their pedigree, the Lightning have the best power play in the league, hitting at 29.4%. Their penalty kill is also strong and has been perfect for the last four games.

In net, Andrei Vasilevskiy is still at an .896 save percentage and -3.8 goals saved above expected. But what matters is that he's back to carrying most of the workload — and getting wins more often than not. Vasilevskiy is 3-1-1 in his last five games and now up to 23-16-1 for the year.

Florida Panthers

Since the All-Star break, only two teams have beaten the Florida Panthers: the Philadelphia Flyers, twice, and the Carolina Hurricanes with two shutout wins, including a 4-0 victory Thursday in Raleigh.

Other than that, Florida has been basically unstoppable. The Panthers are the only team in the league with a points percentage over .700, their goal differential of plus-61 is the best in the NHL and their biggest strength is now on the defensive side of the puck, giving up a league-low 2.37 goals per game. Sergei Bobrovsky also sits third in the league at 19.5 goals saved above expected.

Florida's power-play conversion rate of 26.8% also ranks second in the league, only behind the Lightning, and its offense is led by 46-goal scorer Sam Reinhart, with 30-goal scorer Carter Verhaeghe not far behind.

Ahead of the trade deadline, the Panthers picked up sniper Vladimir Tarasenko, who has two goals in four games for them. Former Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo adds more leadership in the locker room.

The Panthers are dealing with several key injuries: defenseman Aaron Ekblad is expected to be out for about another week, while forwards Evan Rodrigues and Sam Bennett are both listed as day-to-day.

Lightning vs. Panthers

Betting Pick & Prediction

So far this season, the battle of Florida has skewed dramatically in favor of the Panthers, who picked up a 3-2 win at Amalie Arena just after Christmas and then delivered a 9-2 beatdown a month ago.

That memory will be in the mind of the Lightning when they touch down Saturday as considerable underdogs — at +145 as of Friday evening.

But they also have the momentum, having outscored their opponents by a total of 13-3 in two games since the trade deadline. Not to mention, they're also the healthier side.

As battle-tested as the Lightning are, it's not unreasonable to think they're raising their game now that the trade deadline has come and gone, and they'll be a motivated bunch Saturday.

There's no doubt the Panthers are a tough out. But there's enough value on the table to justify a bet on the surging Lightning to avoid the season-series sweep Saturday.

Pick: Lightning Moneyline (+145 at DraftKings | Play to +120)

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