Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers
When and Where: Sunday, Feb. 10, BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla., 6:05 p.m.
Already the first team in the NHL to 40 wins, the Tampa Bay Lightning look to run their point streak to six games Sunday when they face their in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lightning looking to pad lead atop Atlantic
Tampa Bay (40-11-4) continues to have the most points in the NHL and added another two to that league-leading total after edging Pittsburgh 5-4 on Saturday night and becoming the fourth-fastest team in league history to 40 wins, accomplishing the feat in 55 games.
Cooper: “I like winning. So that was the good point to take out of this. It was a weird game. But we've had weird games against them.” #PITvsTBL
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 10, 2019
Tyler Johnson and J.T. Miller scored third-period goals for the Lightning, who are 3-0-2 in their last five games and are 13 points clear of Toronto in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay, which also leads the NHL with 208 goals, also got back to its offensive ways with its first five-goal effort since a 6-3 win over San Jose on Jan. 19.
All that offense came without leading scorer Nikita Kucherov — who was a minus-4 — registering a point. Kucherov has an NHL-best 81 points but only six assists in his last 10 games.
Coach Jon Cooper has not officially named a starter for this game, which means Andrei Vasilevskiy could be back in net after making 28 saves. He turned aside 42 shots and two shootout attempts in a 2-1 win over Florida on Oct. 6 and has won five of his last six starts against the Panthers.
Vasilevskiy is 6-3-1 with a 2.93 goals-against average lifetime versus Florida.
Panthers try to complete high-profile weekend sweep
While the Panthers (22-22-8) are likely going to miss the playoffs for a third straight season, they do have a chance to complete an impressive three-game sweep of quality opponents after a 5-4 overtime win at Stanley Cup champion Washington on Wednesday night.
When you get your 1,000th start you can spike the ball however you want.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 10, 2019
Mike Hoffman‘s power-play goal 91 seconds into the extra period gave Florida the second point after it squandered a two-goal lead in the final 13:48 of regulation. Keith Yandle added a goal and assisted on the game-winner for the Panthers, who started this three-game gauntlet with a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
“We get in trouble when we look too big picture,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner told the team’s official website. “We know the position we’re in. Obviously we’re scoreboard watching every night. We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but the minute we start talking about how many games we have, how many wins we need, that’s when we get in trouble.”
Roberto Luongo could be back between the pipes after making 26 saves versus the Capitals for his fourth win in five starts. The veteran netminder has lost a pair of games to Tampa Bay this season and was chased in the third period of a 7-3 loss Nov. 21 after letting up six goals on 28 shots.
Luongo is 0-2-1 with a 4.57 GAA in his last four appearances versus the Lightning, giving up four or more goals in his three starts, and is 18-17-2 with two ties, four shutouts and a 2.62 GAA lifetime versus Tampa Bay.
The Panthers are:
- 1-4 in their last five in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation.
- 0-5 in their last five games vs. the Lightning.
- The over is 7-0-1 in the last eight in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five home games vs. teams with an above-.600 road record.
- The over is 22-10 in its last 32 home games vs. the Lightning.
The Lightning are:
- 20-6 in their last 26 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- 37-14 in their last 51 games vs. Atlantic Division opponents.
- 7-3 in their last 10 playing on zero days’ rest.
- The over is 16-5 in its last 21 games on zero days’ rest.
- The over is 14-5-1 in its last 20 games vs. sub-.500 teams.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Lightning continue to find ways to get things done, and getting five goals against Pittsburgh when their top line fails to make a meaningful contribution is proof positive of that. Tampa Bay has also scored 26 goals in its current five-game winning streak over Florida, and with a strong track record playing on back-to-back nights, should make it six in a row.
Prediction: Pick: Lightning -145
Full-Game Total Pick
Again, a pick based on the Lightning’s offense, which got goals from seven different players in the last meeting between the teams.. Tampa Bay got back on track offensively with Saturday’s win, and Florida has been competitive enough in this series to contribute a couple of goals and help the over hit.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 6.5 goals
Full-Game Prop Bet
Playing on back-to-back days could be an issue for Tampa Bay, but after getting production from everyone but the top line against Pittsburgh, the hedge is Kucherov’s line gets going in this contest and the Lightning continue racking up the goals.
Prediction: Pick: Lightning OVER 3.5 goals (Even)
Half-Time Side Pick
While the Lightning are a potent offensive force with 68 first-period goals, they are also a porous defensive bunch by yielding 60 goals in the first 20 minutes. The Panthers have also been a solid first-period team with a net plus-10 goal difference while potting 50 in the first 20 minutes. While a draw feels like the best option (if available where you bet), the pick here is taking the Panthers and getting the half-goal.
Prediction: Pick: Panthers +0.5 goals
Half-Time Total Bet
The Panthers make this a higher-confidence pick, having scored in the first period of all three games between the teams and totaling five first-period goals in their last four contests. The Lightning should be good for at least a goal if not two, and help put the over on its way.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals