The New Jersey Devils are in Florida on Sunday for a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be their second meeting of the year, after the Lightning blasted the Devils by a score of 8-3 on October 30th. The Devils struck early to take a 2-0 lead, but it all unraveled from there. Tampa notched 5 unanswered goals to put the game out of reach. The Lightning have been one of the better teams to open the season, as they enter Sunday with a record of 16-6-1.
That puts them a game behind the Buffalo Sabres for 1st in the Atlantic. The Sabres? After downing the Red Wings in a shootout, the Sabres jumped to a 16-6-2 and a point ahead of the Lightning. Not only are the Sabres leading the Atlantic, but they have the most points in the NHL. With the Reinhart goal, the Sabres recorded their 9th win in a row. It’s been a total team effort the scrappy team from Buffalo.
The Lightning can get back out in front with a win over the Devils on Sunday. 1st place doesn’t really mean much at this point, and certainly not as much to the Lightning as it does the Sabres, a team who had been struggling for a decade. The Bolts have been here before and it’s been a while for the Sabres, so let them enjoy the moment.
After what the Vegas Golden Knights did last season, it’s hard to say that this is just a flash in the pan for the Sabres. We’ll see if the Sabres keep it rolling, but they have a bunch of underrated talent on their team that has largely been ignored before now. Let’s see if the Lightning have a response against the Devils tonight. They’ve won four of their last five games, with the only loss coming against the Predators. Head below for our free Devils vs. Lightning pick.
N.J. Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
The Devils are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Islanders in overtime. They have won just four of their last ten games and are sputtering after what was an impressive start. The Devils won their first four games by an average of 3.25 goals per game. However, they went on to lose six of their next seven games and nine of eleven. Trouble started to happen just about the same time that Cory Schneider returned off the IR.
Keith Kinkaid was in a rhythm and playing well, then Schneider returned to get some time in net and it must have thrown Kinkaid off. And then Schneider has been abysmal with a 4.07 GAA and 0.865 save percentage, so what’s become possible trade bait with Schneider or Kinkaid, has turned into a bare market for their services. They will have to deal with a Tampa offence who are tied for 1st in the league with 3.74 goals per game. In their last ten games, that number has looked even better with 4.1 goals per game, while the Devils gave up 3.2 per game during that same stretch.
Louis Domingue has taken over as the starter in Tampa after Andrei Vasilevskiy got injured. Domingue has been serviceable as Vasilevskiy tends to a broken foot. He has won four his last five starts and will look to make it another on Sunday. His save percentage has been above 0.912 in his last three starts. Tampa have been solid at home with a record of 9-3. Conversely, the Devils have been horrific at 2-8 on the road. They’ve also gone 0-4 in their last four trips to Tampa. At this kind of price it warrants a look at the puck line on the Lightning in Tampa.