The Vegas Golden Knights are nearing the end of their monster eight-game road trip, but will have to make stops in Tampa and Sunrise before heading back to Las Vegas. Vegas haven’t played at T-Mobile Arena since January 14 in a 3-0 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their last win at home feels like an eternity ago, when they topped the Blues by a score of 5-4 in overtime.
That was the 3-0 comeback game that many thought was going to signal a big run by the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. With three straight losses at home following that effort against the defending champions, all of the momentum was sucked out of the Golden Knights. Heading into Tampa, the Golden Knights are winners in three of six games on this road trip.
Vegas are coming off an impressive performance against the Nashville Predators with a 3-0 win at Bridgestone Arena. It was a much needed performance by Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes. His confidence was floundering over the past month or so and a shutout could be what he needs to get hot. The Pacific is incredibly crowded, and there isn’t much separating the teams in terms of talent. Goaltending is likely going to be the difference. Fleury has been in more than enough pressure spots in the past, so don’t expect him to crumble.
The Golden Knights and Fleury will have to contain a Lightning team who have been heating up. Thanks to an early exit in the playoffs last season, and a slow start for the Lightning in 2019-20, not many people have been giving them too much attention or acknowledging how well they’re playing at the moment. From what I’ve watched since around Christmas, the Lightning look like the team that went 62-16-4 with 128 points last now right now.
Tampa has won 15 of their previous 18 games, and are on a three-game winning streak going into Tuesday night. They’re coming off an easy west coast road trip, with wins in Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose before heading home to welcome the Golden Knights. This isn’t a team I’d want to meet in the playoffs, especially after what happened against the Blue Jackets last season. We have to assume they’re going to be better focused given what happened then, but the playoffs are always a wide open tournament. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Lightning pick.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Odds:
Golden Knights vs. Lightning Prediction:
The Lightning are only one loss away in regulation from matching their loss total from last season. That may end up being meaningless, though, because despite their regular season record, the Lightning got stomped out in four games against the Blue Jackets. Staying away from the Presidents’ Trophy might be in their best interest. While I don’t believe in curses or anything of the sort, there might be something behind getting too comfortable after getting top honours in the regular season. Vasilevskiy has played better of late, and he’s played a critical role in getting the Lightning back on track.
Vailevskiy enters this contest with a 2.55 GAA and 0.917 save percentage in 38 games. A considerable improvement from where he was in October and November. With Vasilevskiy struggling to get into a rhythm early in the season, the offence was under a lot of strain to carry the load alone. And while the Lightning offence is capable of scoring at a rapid pace, they have the talent to be an all-around good team and will need it to continue this positive uptrend that the Lightning have been on. In their previous ten games, the Lightning have allowed just 1.8 goals per game . Only four teams were able to score 3 or more goals against the Lightning in regulation during that stretch.
The biggest concern for the Golden Knights is likely going to be keeping up with the Lightning offence. Fleury was able to have a solid performance against the Predators, but I would like to see him play well consistently again. He enters Tampa with a 2.78 GAA and 0.908 save percentage. In their previous ten games, the Golden Knights have yielded an average of 3.2 goals per game. If Fleury isn’t able to ride his momentum from the trip to Nashville, it could be a long night for him and the defence. The Lightning have been lethal at home offensively, having recorded 4.08 goals per game. In four of their last five games at Amalie Arena, the Bolts have scored at least 4 goals in each contest. The Golden Knights should provide a decent challenge, but expect the Lightning to pull away for a win in regulation on Tuesday night.