The Tampa Bay Lightning pick up and leave Philadelphia with a close 1-0 win over the Flyers on Saturday night. They’ll be back in action on Sunday, as they seek to extend their winning streak to 11 straight games. And you were worrying about the Lightning earlier in the season? With the hangover from what happened last season in the playoffs over with, the Lightning have been playing like the best team in the NHL recently.
They’ve been adapting and winning games in different ways. One night it might be a high-scoring affair, and another win looks like what they did last night in Philadelphia against the Flyers. That’s the Lightning we came to know last season, and that version has finally shown up in 2019-20.
If you got on the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup before going on this run, then you got terrific value. Their odds continue to drop with each passing game during this winning streak. The Lightning must stay focused going into Newark on Sunday, though. There will be a Devils team on the other side who are feeling confident after dispatching the Washington Capitals by a score of 5-1 on Saturday night.
The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Devils, though they were on a three-game winning streak before that skid. It doesn’t sound like much, but considering how badly things were going for the Devils, they’ll gladly take four wins in seven games and a victory over the Capitals.
Could this be the spark plug that the Devils have been looking for this season? A 5-1 win over the Capitals is not easy to do, especially on the road at Capital One Arena. Just keep in mind that we thought a 7-1 win against the Blackhawks may have been what they needed. Since that game, the Devils have broken even and won four of eight games, so not exactly what they were expecting.
The Devils are last in the Metropolitan with a record of 16-21-7 and 39 points. Conversely, the Lightning are creeping up on the Bruins in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins were feeling comfortable with a sizable lead, but the Lightning are reeling the Bruins in and are currently 7 points behind heading into Sunday. Tampa will look to improve on their 27-13-4 record in this one Sunday night. After Andrei Vasilevskiy blanked the Flyers, expect to see backup Curtis McElhinney get the nod in the crease at the Prudential Center. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Devils pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils Betting Odds:
Lightning vs. Devils Prediction:
The Lightning certainly aren’t a team I’d want to step in front of in the playoffs. I realize what happened against the Blue Jackets in the first-round last season, but that may cause them to be more focused than ever in the postseason. They possibly peaked too early last season. When I say peak, that pretty well included the entire regular season. There was really no period of regression until the playoffs arrived.
During their ten-game winning streak, the Lightning have averaged 4.3 goals per game, while allowing just 1.7 goals a contest. That looks more like the team we saw toying with opponents in the regular season last year. The defence has really stepped it up in particular recently. Note that the Bolts haven’t allowed a goal in their last two games. They downed the Coyotes by a score of 4-0 and then followed it up with another defensive clinic in a 1-0 victory.
Tampa has allowed an average of 0.75 goals per game in their previous four outings. And it goes beyond solid goaltending as well. Give credit to a terrific defensive effort and game planning by Jon Cooper. The Lightning haven’t allowed 30 or more shots since January 2nd against the Montreal Canadiens. In their last three outings, they’ve yielded only 23.6 shots per game. With Mackenzie Blackwood injured for the Devils, they may go back to Louis Domingue against his former team on Sunday.
Domingue was sensational last night, as he stopped 33 of 34 shots. It’s a rare bright spot for Domingue, as he’s largely struggled to find consistency with the Devils. After the standout performance, Domingue still owns a shaky 3.44 GAA and 0.888 save percentage with a record of 2-4-0. Last night was his first win since November 23rd against the hopeless Red Wings. Expect the Devils to regress on Sunday defensively, and likely fall victim to the Lightning at home in what could be a letdown spot.
Despite the nice performance on Saturday, the Devils are 30th in the league with 3.43 goals against per game. Conversely, the Lightning are 9th with 2.89 goals against, and have been looking better in that regard recently. It was a nice win for the Devils last night, though it’s likely back to reality on Saturday for the Devils. Chasing around the Capitals for 60 minutes is no fun, and now they have to do it against the hottest team in the NHL. It’s hard to see a repeat performance. Note that the Lightning are 5-1-1 on a back-to-back, so the extra workload hasn’t bothered them. Look for the Lightning to record a win in regulation here.