Tampa Bay (23-6-2; 17-14 ATS; 18-13 O/U) vs. Colorado (15-14-2; 19-12 ATS; 19-11-1 O/U)
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be hunting for their seventh consecutive victory when they take on the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night from the Pepsi Center. The Lightning recorded a 4-1 road win against the Coyotes in their previous action, and the Avalanche edged the Panthers by a 2-1 score on Thursday night. The Lightning notched a 5-2 home win over the Avalanche earlier this month.
Lightning Light Up Coyotes in Sixth Straight Win
The red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning fired 48 shots on net in their easy 4-1 road win over the Coyotes on Thursday night. Brayden Point continued his strong play with a goal and an assist in the winning effort. The 21-year old centerman is having a tremendous season, collecting nine points in his last six games, and a total of 14 goals and 16 assists in 31 games played on the year. Lightning’ point leader Nikita Kucherov also found the back of the net in Thursday’s win. The dynamic right-winger has notched ten points in his last eight games and leads the entire NHL with 44 points in 31 games. Kucherov has four points in nine career games against Colorado. The Lightning continue to tear up the entire NHL, currently riding a six game winning streak and lead the NHL with 48 points. They are averaging an NHL-leading 3.7 goals per game.
Tampa Bay could opt to go with Peter Budaj to give Andrei Vasilevskiy a rest. Budaj owns a 3.40 GAA in five games and Vasilevskiy continues to shine, posting a dazzling 2.11 GAA with a 21-4-1 record. The Lightning are holding opponents to an average of 2.4 goals per game, good for third in the NHL.
MacKinnon Leads Avalanche Past Panthers
The Colorado Avalanche received outstanding goaltending from Semyon Varlamov in a 2-1 home win against the Panthers on Thursday night. Avalanche’ leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon had a big night in the victory, scoring both goals. The 22-year old centerman is having a terrific season, scoring five goals in his last six games, and has now tallied 35 points in 31 games on the season. Tyson Barrie added an assist in Thursday’s victory. The 26-year old defenseman is having a solid season and leads all Avs’ defensemen in points, placing fourth in team scoring with 22 points in 30 games. The Avalanche have now picked up a win in three out of their last four games and overall they have been much more competitive than their awful 2016-2017 season. Colorado is averaging 3.1 goals per game, ranking them 10th in the NHL.
The Avalanche continue to rotate between Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier in goal. Neither goalie has been sharp as Varlamov currently possesses a 3.08 GAA with a 10-8-1 record while Bernier owns a 3.05 GAA. Colorado is conceding an average of 3.2 goals per game, positioning them at 24th overall.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are:
- 5-0 in their last 5 games following a win.
- 13-3 in their last 16 games playing on one day of rest.
- 21-6 in their last 27 games after allowing two or fewer goals in their previous game.
The Colorado Avalanche are:
- 1-6 in their last 7 games against a team with a road winning percentage above .600.
- 9-23 in their last 32 Saturday games.
- 1-4 in their last 5 games when playing their fourth game in six days.
I am taking the Lightning to win in regulation to get more value on the line. The Lightning are the best team in the NHL, and they should continue their dominance in this matchup. They already defeated the Avalanche by a 5-2 score earlier this month. The Lightning feast on weak defensive teams such as the Avalanche, and they are averaging 4.5 goals in their last six games. Colorado is well below averaging defensively and in net, and they also do not get many shots on goal, and the Lightning should take this one easily.