The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their road tour, with a stop in Vancouver for their seventh game in a row on the road. They have one more road test before heading home, as they depart for Edmonton following the game tonight. They have an eight-game home stand, and ten of eleven games at home on the horizon, so there is some good news coming. Despite the tough schedule lately, the Lightning have won four of six on the road, and are still hanging on to 1st in the NHL.
The Golden Knights could have taken 1st away from the Lightning last night, but they stumbled in Minnesota, to keep the Lightning atop the NHL. When the roughest stretch of the season is just about over, and still in 1st place, there certainly can’t be any complaints coming out of Tampa. Can they parlay the regular season success into playoff success? It’s wide open at that point, but the Lightning have firepower that I would take over any other team in the league. It comes down to being at the peak when it counts the most.
The Canucks have fought through injuries this season to key members of their roster and are just trying to keep their head above water. There are several good things to take from this season thus far, though. No one foresaw Brock Boeser exploding like he has this season. As the 25th selection in the 2015 draft, there are more than a few teams who are kicking themselves by passing on Boeser.
At just 20 and playing in first full-season at the NHL level, Boeser has scored 24 goals and 20 assists. It looks like we’re watching a star blossom before our eyes. Boeser and Bo Horvat should combine to be a powerful 1-2 punch for years to come. The offence started to unravel without Horvat in the lineup, but they’ve been getting back into the swing of things with him back. Still a lot of work to do for the future, however everything is looking up in Vancouver. Get our free Lightning vs. Canucks pick below.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick
The Vancouver offence was hitting all cylinders since coming back from the break, as they beat the Avalanche 4-3 and Blackhawks, 4-2. The Canucks also put up 6 on the Kings before the break. They can be good when they’re a healthy squad. We expect the offence to continue to get better for the Canucks as they mature. However, management really has to address their defensive unit. They’ve been getting beat far too often in 2017-18. On the year, they are 25th in the league, allowing an average of 3.16 goals per game. Jacob Markstrom hasn’t been at his best against the Lightning, as he’s posted a 3.20 GAA and 0.889 save percentage in nine appearances.
The Lightning are 1st in the NHL, as they’ve scored an average of 3.55 goals per game. They obliterated the Flames for 7 goals on Wednesday, as they erupted in the 3rd period for 4 goals. The Bolts are capable of hitting a switch and doing that to teams. In their last ten games, they’ve averaged 3.3 goals per game while allowing 3.1 goals per contest. The defence has just been giving up too many opportunities lately, as the Lightning have given up an average of 35 shots per game in their last ten. Part of that has to do with being on the road for so long. It’s easy to get sloppy and lazy on the defensive end. The OVER has gone 7-2-1 in their last ten meetings, and I see the trend continuing tonight in Vancouver.
PICK: OVER 5.5 (-110)