We had a brisk card on Monday night with only four games on the card, but get back to a full schedule on Tuesday. Amalie Arena will be open for business, as the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning square off in an evening affair in Florida. The Lightning have quietly gotten hot recently, as they search for an en eight-game winning streak on Tuesday night.
It took them a minute to shake off what happened against the Blue Jackets last season, but it appears that they’re finally over the hangover. As we go into the second-half of the year, right about now would be the perfect time for the Lightning to get comfortable. Playing on fire from October to March didn’t work last season. We’ll see if following the Blues’ blueprint will work.
No, the Lightning weren’t last before this eight-game winning streak, though they were playing well below expectations and not like a team that is a reflection of their talent. There’s loads of talent on the Lightning, obviously. The roster didn’t change THAT much to justify going from a 62-16-4 team last season to looking like an okay team in 2019-20. I should say better than okay at this point, but earlier in the season, the Lightning were simply going through the motions and not getting the most out of their talented roster.
The Lightning got an excellent performance out of Andrei Vasilevskiy on Sunday to stymie a good Carolina Hurricanes team. He allowed a goal on 29 shots, which is more along the lines of what we saw from him as a Vezina winner. Vasilevskiy isn’t excluded from the guys on the Lightning who started off slow in the 2019-20 campaign. He was cold as well, but is beginning to find his footing. They’re going to need Vasilevskiy for the long haul this season. Curtis McElhinney performed okay enough for a 5-3 win the night before in Ottawa.
Tampa aren’t the only team feeling confident on Tuesday night at Amalie Arena. The Lightning welcome a Canucks team who are looking for an eight-game winning streak as well. To keep this winning streak going, the Canucks will have to find a way on the road. After a 2-1 win over the Rangers in Vancouver, they hit the road for a five-game road trip beginning in Tampa Bay this evening. They’ll be in Sunrise on Thursday night for a meeting with the Panthers. A streak is coming to an end tonight. We’ll see who can make it eight in a row in this one. Head below for our free Canucks vs. Lightning pick
Vancouver Canucks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Odds:
Canucks vs. Lightning Prediction:
Andrei Vasilevskiy was struggling mightily early in the season. The talent is obviously there, but Vasilevskiy was not feeling it. With a GAA eclipsing 3.00, he’s managed to get that under control and bring it down to 2.77 and a 0.911 save percentage going into tonight. Vasilevskiy has allowed a goal in each of his last two outings, and he’s also won five straight starts. Note that the Lightning have yielded 3.05 goals per game overall for 16th in the NHL. However, we’re beginning to see the Lightning play much better hockey in that regard. In their previous ten outings, the Lightning have allowed 2.5 goals per game.
It’s not much of a secret for the Lightning. If those two things can be better, the goaltending and defence, Tampa are going to suddenly be a threat in the Atlantic Division down the stretch. Behind the Bruins by 7 points, it’s a reachable goal with months remaining on the schedule. The Bruins started 2019-20 hot, but they’ve cooled down considerably since.
Perhaps the Lightning do the opposite and play well in the second-half. The offence has still managed to play well this season, having recorded 3.56 goals per game for 3rd in the NHL. Tampa fans might not be totally happy with how the regular season has gone thus far, though they’re getting it done offensively.
For as hot as the Canucks have been recently, they haven’t performed well on the road. A trip out west can be a tricky matchup for a lot of teams, and they’ve been able to take advantage of that. However, not so much on the road where they own a record of 9-10-1. The Canucks have notched just 2.85 goals per game, while yielding 3.20 goals against in their own zone. Vasilevskiy has been rock solid against the Canucks in his career, posting a 2.21 GAA and 0.923 save percentage in seven games.
They will have to deal with a Lightning team who’ve been on fire at Amalie Arena, with 3.9 goals scored per contest in 2019-20. This trip out to Florida looks like a letdown spot for the Canucks. It will likely be an interesting game for two periods, but expect the Lightning to pull away in the third.