It’s a battle of teams from the Central Division battling for the top spot down in the Sunshine State. The Carolina Hurricanes are on the road as they travel to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game of a two-game set Monday night. Carolina swept a two-game series at home against Nashville, earning a 3-1 victory Saturday night in their most recent game. Tampa Bay split a two-game set at home with Florida, losing 5-3 on Saturday night in their latest action. In the season series, the Lightning has a 3-2-1 series edge though the Hurricanes won the most recent meeting, 4-3, at home on March 27.
Carolina Hurricanes Hoping to Maintain Top Spot in Central DivisionCarolina won for the fifth time in seven games as they swept a two-game set from Nashville at home Saturday night. The Hurricanes entered Sunday with a one-point lead over Florida for the top spot in the Central Division and 15 points ahead of fifth-place Chicago to stay on the right side of the playoff cut line. Carolina enters this one tied for 10th in the league in scoring with 3.16 goals per game. The Hurricanes are 4th in goals against as they allow 2.37 goals a night. Carolina is 1st in the league in power-play success as they cash in on 27.9% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Hurricanes stand tied for 5th in the league in penalty killing as they successfully get through 84.1% of their shorthanded situations this season.
We are officially part of the Hakanposse pic.twitter.com/ZgjNX2GyCX— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) April 18, 2021
Against Nashville, Carolina continued their strong play at home and shut down the Predators en route to a victory. In the opening period, the Hurricanes owned a commanding 24-7 edge in shots on goal but skated off with just a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Jaccob Slavin opened the scoring with his second of the year at 18:18 off assists from Morgan Geekie and Steven Lorentz. In the second period, the Hurricanes were outshot 11-7 and outscored 1-0 to leave the game tied after 40 minutes of action. The third period saw Carolina with a 16-10 shot advantage and a 2-0 edge on the scoreboard to earn the victory. Jani Hakanpaa scored his first of the year at 8:55 off an assist from Vincent Trocheck to give Carolina a 2-1 lead. Andrei Svechnikov closed the scoring with his 12th of the season, into an empty net, at 18:09 off assists from Dougie Hamilton and Sebastian Aho. Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for the Hurricanes, who held a 47-28 edge in shots on goal, in the victory. Petr Mrazek is expected to get the call in goal for this contest.
Tampa Bay Lightning Seeking to Tighten Up Central DivisionTampa Bay was knocked off in the second game of their two-game set with Florida Saturday night for their seventh loss in 12 games. The Lightning entered Sunday third in the Central Division, two points behind the Hurricanes for the top spot and one behind second-place Florida. They stood 13 points clear of fifth-place Chicago to remain on the right side of the cut line for the postseason. Tampa Bay stands third in the league in goals for as they average 3.36 goals per contest this season. The Lightning are eighth in the league in goals-against as they allow only 2.59 goals per game on the year. Tampa Bay is 5th in power-play success as they convert 25.2% of their opportunities with the man advantage this year. The Lightning are 8th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate through 82.8% of their shorthanded situations on the year.
Tampa Bay was unable to keep up with Florida Saturday night and wound up with the defeat, knocking them from tied for first to third in the Central Division. In the opening period, the Lightning held a 15-11 edge in shots on goal but they were outscored 3-1 to trail after one period of play. Tampa Bay trailed 2-0 before Brayden Point scored his 18th of the year at 13:40 off assists from Mikhail Sergachev and Ondrej Palat to halve the deficit. The Lightning gave up a goal late in the period to restore their two-goal deficit. In the second period, Tampa Bay was outshot 11-7 with both teams scoring once, leaving them down 4-2 after 40 minutes. After falling behind 4-1, Erik Cernak’s third of the season at 19:15 off assists from Blake Coleman and Victor Hedman to narrow the deficit. The final period saw the Lightning outshot 10-9 with both teams scoring once to leave the hosts on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Mathieu Joseph got Tampa Bay within a goal with his 11th of the season at 1:53 off assists from Point and Hedman. They were unable to get the equalizer, giving up an empty-net goal late to seal their fate. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves for the Lightning, who were outshot 32-31, in the loss. He is expected to get the start in goal again here.
The top trends for this contest are:
- No Key Trends
- Lightning are 53-17 in their last 70 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Lightning are 37-14 in their last 51 home games
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Central Division has been competitive all season long with the top three teams separated by just two points entering Sunday. Carolina bounced back from a pair of losses to Detroit by sweeping Nashville. The Hurricanes have been decent on the road but they have had far more success at home this season. Tampa Bay is minus Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov yet keep rolling along offensively nonetheless. The Lightning are 16-5-0 on home ice this season and they have arguably the league’s top goaltender in Vasilevskiy between the pipes. Playing at home, Tampa Bay won both meetings between the teams this season, outscoring Carolina 6-1. Give the Lightning the upper hand in this contest as they prevail at home.
Full-Game Total Pick
Carolina has seen the under go 20-18-5 in their 43 games on the year entering this contest. The Hurricanes have seen an average of 5.53 goals per game on the scoreboard in their contests this season. That number increases slightly to an average of 5.70 goals per game when Carolina is on the road this season. The Lightning has seen the over go 23-19-2 in their games this season, including in each of their last three contests. Tampa Bay has seen an average of 5.95 goals per contest on the year. That drops slightly to 5.86 goals a night when the Lightning are the visitors. In the first six meetings, we’ve seen one, four, six, three, four and seven goals when these teams have clashed. With the way things have gone when these teams meet, you have to lean toward the under in this contest.