Thursday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Steven Stamkos
- The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night in NHL action.
- The Penguins, who are home favorites, have won consecutive games entering this clash, but should you fade their offense?
- Jonny Lazarus breaks down the game below and shares his best bet.
Penguins vs. Lightning Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Tampa Bay Lightning come into this battle on a four-game win streak, with their most recent win coming outdoors at Nissan Stadium in the NHL Stadium Series where they beat the Nashville Predators 3-2.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are winners of two straight, but their offense has not been clicking as of late as they have only scored five goals in their last three games.
Pittsburgh Penguins Looking to Generate More Goals
The Penguins are known for their talented forwards like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel. Those guys have been on fire, but it seems like the rest of the Penguins' forwards haven't been able to contribute in the last few games.
These three have been carrying the load for the Pens, and even though Malkin missed half the season due to injury, he has looked incredible since he returned to the lineup in January. Malkin has 21 points in 19 games, and Pittsburgh now has the 11th-ranked offense, averaging 3.20 goals per game.
However, the Pens' offense has not been the story over the past two games when Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith both put on excellent performances. Jarry's last start came on Saturday at home when he had a 27-save shutout against the New York Rangers. DeSmith got the start in the Pens' last game on Sunday in Columbus when he allowed two goals on 34 shots.
The Penguins have struggled against Tampa in the past couple of seasons as they are 1-5 in the last six meetings. In this meeting, Pittsburgh should have the more fresh legs, considering that the Penguins haven't played since Sunday. The Pens should be able to keep this one interesting.
Tampa Bay Lightning Hope to Add to Their Win Streak
The two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions are starting to gear up once again for the postseason. The Lightning have sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division as they are one point ahead of the Florida Panthers with a game in hand.
Tampa has been playing some very strong hockey as of late, and its big guns have been their best players. Steven Stamkos has had an incredible season with 26 goals and 34 assists in 51 games. Nikita Kucherov has come back from injury and has shown why he is arguably the most important player on this roster. Kucherov has 10 goals and 16 assists in 17 games. Consequently, the Lightning offense currently ranks seventh in the league by scoring 3.46 goals per game.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been lights out all season as he is considered one of the best goalies in the world. He is 29-8-4 this season with a .921 Save Percentage, a 2.27 Goals Against Average and a +19.3 Goals Saved Above Expected. He gives Tampa a chance to win every single night that he is in net.
Penguins vs. Lightning Pick
The Penguins have not had much success against the Lightning in the past. The last time these two teams met on October 26th, the Lightning dominated the Penguins in a 5-1 win. Granted, it has been a long time since that game, but the trend remains that the Pens struggle against this very strong Lightning team.
Pittsburgh has looked solid in its last two games, but the offense hasn't really been there. Tampa isn't much more talented up front, but the Lightning have so much depth in their lineup, and I feel that is the difference in this matchup.
With Pittsburgh's offensive struggles as of late, the Penguins might have a hard time putting pucks past Vasilevskiy. I like Tampa's chances at home, and even though they are pretty heavy favorites, I trust them enough to lay the juice.
Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning ML -165