Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+1.5
The Tampa Bay Lightning will face the Florida Panthers in a divisional battle. The two teams of Florida have faced each other three times this season and the Panthers won twice. The last time the Lightning and Panthers faced off was in December and the Panthers won 9-3. Backup goaltender Spencer Knight had an impressive 39 saves in that victory.
These teams are in similar positions as the season winds down. They have both clinched playoff spots and will probably not improve their seeding. The Lightning are in third place in the Atlantic Division and will likely stay there if they win one of their last three games. Their opponents, the Panthers, are the top team in the Eastern Conference and have clinched the top spot.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the best team of the last five years but are not as good this season as they were last year. They are in a playoff position because they have gone on a couple of winning streaks in the back half of the season.
The Lightning do not have a ton of star power but are in good hands under the leadership of center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman. Stamkos is one of the best players of the last ten years and has 93 points. Hedman is not as dominant as Stamkos but still an efficient defenseman with 57 assists and a +/- of 24.
The Lightnings’ success this season is very much due to goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy has played in 60 games and has 36 wins. Also, his 2.46 goals allowed per game are in the top ten in the NHL.
The Florida Panthers hold the title of best team in the league and will probably finish the season with that honor. They had a great first half but an even better second half and are on a 13-game winning streak.
The Panthers have one of the best players in the NHL in Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau has the second-most points in the league at 114. The Panthers also have a couple of great centers in Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. Barkov plays over 20 minutes a game and has a +/- of 38, and Reinhart has 48 assists and a +/- of 25.
I cannot talk about the Panthers without mentioning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky leads the NHL in wins with 39 and has only played in 52 games. He is a veteran and established himself as a top netminder many years ago.
Even though the Panthers have clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference, I am still picking them to win this game. They are the best and hottest team in the NHL.
Florida Panthers beat Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3. Florida Panthers cover, Over 6.5 goals.
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|Tampa Bay Lightning||Head-to-Head||Florida Panthers|
|Jon Cooper||Head Coach||Andrew Burnette|
|48-22-8 (3rd in Atlantic Division)||Standing||57-15-6 (1st in Atlantic Division)|
|Steven Stamkos (93)||Points||Jonathan Huberdeau (114)|
|Steven Stamkos (35)||Goals||Aleksander Barkov (39)|
|Steven Stamkos (58)||Assists||Jonathan Huberdeau (84)|
|Jan Rutta (26)||+/-||Gustav Forsling (41)|
|Steven Stamkos (2.88)||Shots (Per Game)||Sam Bennett (3.41)|
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a difficult matchup in the Panthers, but they can leave Miami victorious if they shoot a lot and avoid committing penalties.
The Lightning do not shoot that much, but they score 3.4 goals a game. Those 3.4 goals will not come so easy against this tough Panthers defense. Since that is the case, the Lightning need to put more shots on net. If they do, they will increase their chances of scoring.
The Lightning must avoid committing penalties in this game. This is for two reasons. Firstly, they have to avoid committing penalties because they have a penchant for doing so; their 859 PIM are the second-most in the league. Secondly, they have to avoid committing penalties because the Panthers have a strong power-play unit. The Panthers convert on over 24% of their power-plays, the sixth-best in the league.
The Panthers are the obvious favorites, but they will only win this game if they take smart shots and ride the hot hand.
The Panthers have no problem shooting the puck. They average an absurd 37.9 shots per game and score almost 4.2 goals per game. However, they need to be smart with the puck and take the right shots. This should not be too difficult, as the Panthers have a knack for scoring.
The Panthers have a lot of solid players. Jonathan Huberdeau is the best they have to offer, but after him, there is a long list of talented players. They need to let those talented players play their game, and they will have some unlikely heroes.
This is an unlikely pick, but my reasoning is simple. Nikita Kucherover is coming off a one-goal, two-assist game against the Nashville Predators.
Kucherov has a lot of momentum right now and needs to use it to help power the Lightning to victory.
This is also an unlikely pick, but I chose Claude Giroux for the same reason I chose Nikita Kucherov. He is coming off a one-goal, two-assist game.
Kucherov has to look for his shot and always be on the lookout for a Jonathan Huberdeau pass.
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|Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers Information|
|What||Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers|
|Where||FLA Live Arena Arena, Sunrise, Florida|
|When||Sunday, April 24, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+, Hulu|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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