On Saturday night in Tampa, we get two of the best in the NHL squaring off as they look to finish the regular season on a strong note. The Bruins and Lightning are making the playoffs without a doubt, but the question is going to be what seed they’re going to have. The Lightning have played at the top of the league all season long, and continue to play atop the Eastern Conference with 100 points. If the playoffs were to begin today, they’d enjoy home ice advantage until the Stanley Cup Final if the Predators reached as well. The Preds clinched the playoffs last night, the first team to do so. The Bruins are trending up as well. They are 4 points behind the Lightning in the Atlantic, but they can do some catching up tonight and get the double whammy. They prevent the Bolts from picking up 2 points, while being able to gain ground.
There are several teams this season that have played above what anyone expected back in September. The Bruins are one of them, as it was certainly difficult to predict that they would be competing for the top-seed in the Eastern Conference. The NHL is always wide open, and the playoffs are especially wide open, so there’s still a lot of work left to be done. The Lightning have played near the top of the league in the past, got to the Stanley Cup Final, and came up short. There’s been expectations of winning a Cup in Tampa since Steven Stamkos arrived in Florida. They just never had the playoff pedigree like the Blackhawks were able to turn on come spring time. It should be a good one tonight, as two of the best meet at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay. Head below for our free Bruins vs. Lightning pick.
Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
To counter the Lightning in the playoffs, teams are going to require a high-powered offence to take them down. Elite defences have been hard to find this year and I can’t really locate one that would be able to nullify the offensive firepower of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Kucherov leads the NHL in points with 91. The Bolts are averaging 3.59 goals per game, which is good for 1st in the league.
They’ve been consistently putting up big numbers on the board. In their last ten games, they averaged 3.8 goals per game. However, they did allow 3.7 goals per. It won’t matter if this offence keeps throttling opposing defences, though. Tampa allowed at least 3 goals in eight of their last ten games, including 7 goals allowed against the Senators.
The Bruins have been lighting it up on offence, too. In their last ten they’ve matched the Lightning with 3.8 goals per game. Likewise, though, they had issues on defence, allowing 3.3 goals per game. Overall, the Bruins are averaging 3.32 goals per game, 3rd in the league to trail the Bolts who are 1st. The OVER has gone 8-2 in the last ten for the Lightning. Note that the OVER cashed at a rate of 9-3-1 in their last fourteen times meeting in Tampa. It should be an entertaining game here, with the OVER looking like a decent bet for St. Patrick’s Day in the NHL.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)