The Game of the Day in the NHL is in Tampa, Florida tonight between the Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s a heavyweight contest, pitting the best of the Western Conference against the best of the Eastern Conference. Heading into Tuesday evening, the Flames lead the Western Conference with 74 points, while the Lightning lead in their conference with 86 points.
Note that San Jose currently has a matchup pending with the Canucks. A win and they’ll jump over the Lightning for 1st. It’s a 6-1 game at the moment in favour of the Sharks, so I think it’s safe to say that the Lightning will be playing to take back a spot atop the conference tonight. Things are much tighter for the Flames amongst their competition. On the other hand, the Lightning have plenty of breathing room between them and 2nd.
The Maple Leafs are looking fine with a record of 34-18-3, but are 15 points off from the Lightning. Catching Tampa appears like an unrealistic goal. At 41-11-3, the Lightning are likely going to cruise to the top record in the Eastern Conference, and in the process, secure home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
As we’ve found out before, that doesn’t equate to a Stanley Cup, though. They just have to avoid getting too lax and comfortable. For a couple of weeks there, the Lightning looked like they were getting too comfortable. The offence suddenly went silent, but for a team playing at their high level of play for so long, they were bound to hit a snag temporarily.
They’ve won six of their last ten games, though are winners in each of their last two outings with wins over the Penguins and Panthers. If going 60% over the course of a ten-game sample size is the worst of their problems this season, then the Lightning are likely going to feel good about going into the playoffs.
They have a quality Flames team to deal with this evening in Florida. The Flames enter with a record of 34-15-6, which puts them into a fight with the Sharks and Jets for 1st. The Sharks don’t get much attention, but are a sleeper to look out for. Head below for our free Flames vs. Lightning pick.
Calgary Flames vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
After getting stuck in mud, everything is back on track for the Lightning offence. In their last two games, Tampa have recorded wins of 5-4 and 5-2. 10 goals in two games is more like the Lightning we’ve gotten familiar with this season. They have seemed to find their scoring stroke again, which will likely come in handy against the Flames tonight.
Despite a couple of weeks of below average results for the Lightning, they are still without a doubt the most dangerous offence in the NHL. As long as they stay healthy, no one is going to want to deal with Kucherov, Stamkos, and Point. Tampa rank 1st in the league with an average of 3.8 goals scored per game. That figure improves to 4.11 goals at home in Tampa.
The Lightning edged the Flames out by a score of 5-4 in overtime in their meeting this season. David Rittich allowed 4 goals on 32 shots in that matchup. The Lightning also won their last meeting of 2017-18 with a 7-4 victory. He will likely get the start tonight. The Flames trail the Lightning by 0.13 goals per game in the scoring department.
Their 3.67 goals per game this season is good enough for 2nd, which puts them right behind Tampa in that regard. The OVER has gone 4-1 in their previous five meetings, with an average of 8 goals scored per meeting. If there is any game to watch in the NHL tonight, this one has to be it. Look for a 4-3 or 5-3 game to put this gam OVER the total in Tampa on Tuesday night.