The New Jersey Devils welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Prudential Center on Monday evening. There hasn’t been a lot to get excited about for the Devils. They’ve been getting pushed around after playing some good hockey to open the season across the first two weeks of the season. They were on the road for a three-game road trip, only to come home and suffer another loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
Nothing has gone their way recently, and now they have to contend with the high-powered Lightning. The Lightning continue to go with Louis Domingue between the pipes in place of starter Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy is one of the better goaltenders in the NHL, but he has been down with an injury for a few weeks. He is expected to return in two or three weeks from a broken foot.
That’s their timeline at the moment, though it could go longer depending how he is progressing. A broken foot is nothing to rush back from. Domingue made a tremendous save against the Panthers on Saturday to save the game in overtime. He was sprawled out and barely caught a piece of the puck with the end of his pad. Less than an inch and the puck was going to go behind him with the red light turned on.
Tampa went on the power play soon after and made no mistake with a Brayden Point strike to give the Bolts a 5-4 win. Point leads the team with 19 goals. He also has 15 assists and a nice +/- rating of 8. Point certainly isn’t the only goal scorer on this tea. There are several options for the Lightning, which is making it a whole lot easier on Domingue with the goal support. It especially helps mentally, as he knows he doesn’t have to play out of his mind for his team to win. A strong postseason push isn’t going to work with Domingue, though, so they have to hope that Vasilevskiy doesn’t reaggravate his foot once he returns. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Devils pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. N.J. Devils Pick
The Lightning have been a goal scoring machine this season, as they lead the NHL in scoring. When you have talent on it like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point, goals are going to be easy to come by. The most pressing concern for the Bolts is going to be whether they will have a healthy Vasilevskiy later in the season.
If the Lightning are going to be without his services, it’s unlikely Domingue will be able to get hot, which is necessary if you want to go far in the playoffs. In any event, the Lightning are averaging 3.78 goals per game which puts them 1st in the league.
Not good news for a Devils team who have been getting hard defensively. They’re 26th with 3.44 goals allowed per game and have given up 13 goals to the Lightning in their previous two meetings. In their last five games, they’ve given up 4.6 goals per game, with none resulting in less than 4 goals scored. It’s not the best time to be welcoming the Lightning to town with those struggles.
Domingue could be better in net for the Lightning, as he goes into tonight with a 3.29 GAA and 0.896 save percentage. His efforts are overshadowed by the terrific offence that is backing him. He must get some credit in overtime against the Panthers on Saturday, though. However, it’s not enough for me to feel comfortable with him in net. Nor do I have any confidence in Cory Schneider or Keith Kinkaid, who have both been struggling mightily. Before one of them figure it out, the Devils aren’t going anywhere. The Devils have been good at home offensively, with 3.58 goals scored per game. The OVER has gone 6-0 in their previous six and 4-1-1 in the Lightning’s last six. I’d look for another high-scoring contest this evening.