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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Find Value on Total Sunday

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Find Value on Total Sunday article feature image
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Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida Panthers standout Mason Marchment celebrates a goal with teammates.

Lightning vs. Panthers Odds

Lightning Odds +115
Panthers Odds -135
Over/Under 6.5 (-125/+105)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+ | Hulu
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

The Battle of Florida. A rivalry that didn’t really come into fruition until last year when the Florida Panthers finally became a formidable opponent for the defending champs Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s one of the more intense battles in the NHL today, but both teams are on the second leg of a back-to-back.

Tampa Bay has played fairly underwhelming hockey as of late. While they’ve managed to notch 102 points so far, over their last 10, they’ve gone 5-4-1, including an 8-1 throttling against a high powered Maple Leafs team. 

Down in South Florida, it’s hard to put into words the utter domination the Panthers have shown this year. They’re wreaking havoc in the league, winning 13 in a row, and have the best record in the NHL.

Lightning Getting Ready to Turn it On?

Over the course of the past three years, the Lightning have played a lot of hockey, with not a whole lot of rest. Regardless, Tampa still has a deadly roster led by captain Steven Stamkos with 90 points. Behind him is elite defenseman Victor Hedman, along with Alex Killorn, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov. Even though the Bolts haven’t been performing at a high level lately, they’re still not a team to be taken lightly.

It’s astounding that this can be considered a “down year” for Tampa since they still perform exceptionally well. They’ve managed to score about 3.36 goals per game with a 10th best expected goals rate of 52.74%. They’re also among the best at creating high-danger chances, but don’t seem as efficient on the power play as they once were, scoring at a 21.67% rate. 

On the defensive end, the Bolts have held strong. The goaltending has been protected by a solid defense that is ranked sixth in high-danger chances allowed, and 11th in penalty killing with an 81.62% success rate.

Since Brian Elliott started in last night’s game against Nashville, it means that former Vezina and Conn Smythe winner Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the nod. The Russian net-minder is posting his normal exceptional numbers with a .917 SV% and a +26.6 GSAx.

Panthers Offense Still on Fire

Florida has one of, if not the deepest teams in the league. Led by overlooked superstar Jonathan Huberdeau with an incredible 113 points, the Panthers are also getting over a point per game production from Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. Including those three, they have seven players with 20+ goals. The only significant injuries include top defenseman Aaron Ekblad, but also Carter Verhaeghe is listed as day-to-day.

With such a deep and talented roster, it’s no surprise that the Panthers are the highest rated offense in the league. Scoring at a league leading 4.18 goals per game, they also lead in expected goals with a 57.33 xGF%. Not only that but they lead the league in high danger chances created, and are the sixth-best team on the powerplay, scoring at a 24.19% clip.

Although it may not matter given the hot streak that they’re on, but defensively, the Panthers could be better. There was a period where they were allowing a ton of goals, but that is no longer a problem as they allow 2.83 goals per game. The one downfall is that they do allow a decent amount of high-danger chances, and the PK isn’t the best, with a 79.7% success rate.  

With Sergei Bobrovsky starting in their win against Toronto last night, I would have to guess that youngster Spencer Knight gets the start against Tampa. The youngster has had some growing pains this year, but is just now adjusting well to the NHL. Knight is posting a .909 SV% and a +3.7 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).

Lightning vs. Panthers Pick

Ever since these two teams squared off in the playoffs last year, it’s always a joy to watch the two Florida teams battle it out. You’re always expected to get fireworks and a few goals here and there.

While Tampa has struggled in getting results recently, they’ve been on a scoring tear, netting 14 goals in their last two games, as well as averaging 4.0 goals per game in April. For Florida, you should expect at least three goals each game. Over the course of their 13-game winning streak, the Cats have averaged 4.5 goals per game, which is an absurd rate.

With such high powered offenses, and the deadly punch the Panthers can pack, I’m taking the over.

Pick: Over 6.5 goals (-125)

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