The Tampa Bay Lightning are out west as they near the end of their six-game road trip. They are coming off a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night at the Staples Center. The Lightning got behind early, but responded nicely to put away the Kings in the third period. They couldn’t find the back of the net in the first frame, though came back for 2 goals each in the second and third period.
Give credit to the Kings, as they outshot the Lightning 34 to 20. Jonathan Quick was shaky once again in net. He allowed 3 goals on 23 shots and the Lightning added an empty netter to get the 4-2 victory. If the Lightning are going to catch the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, they’re going to have to win the winnable games.
The lead is down to only 5 points for the Bruins, and they’ve played one more game than the Lightning. For the Bruins’ sake, hopefully they didn’t peak too early and continue to slow down. Following a rather slow start by their standards, the Lightning are the only team in the division with 30 wins. The Maple Leafs and Panthers are still hanging in there nicely with 61 points on the season.
Beyond those four teams, there isn’t much competition in the Atlantic at the moment. I don’t believe, and no one else I have to believe, has faith in the Montreal Canadiens to get back on track. The Lightning on the other hand are certainly a team that have a BUY symbol right now. While everything ignores them because of failing to match last season’s results in the regular season, the Lightning could surprise in the playoffs because of less pressure.
The Bolts take on a Ducks team who are coming off a nice 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night. It doesn’t put a dent in their poor record of 20-25-5 and 45 points, but at least the team is still playing hard and not giving up on the season. They seem to be in a position to sell at the deadline, though they don’t have a player for a blockbuster deal.
Jakob Silfverberg isn’t going anywhere, so it likely won’t be too exciting. No one else is going to move the needle. Maybe a deal for Cam Fowler, but no one is going to want his contract. The Lightning are going to be a much more difficult test than the Coyotes, who also lost against the Kings a night ago as well. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Ducks pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Anaheim Ducks Betting Odds:
Lightning vs. Ducks Prediction:
The Ducks are going to have to play a sharper game for a win against the Lightning tonight. If the Lightning just go through the motions like they did against the Kings on Wednesday, they would be able to get the upset with a solid effort. The Lightning were not going through the motions or going allow an upset to happen in their most recent matchup versus the Ducks. In their only meeting this season, the Lightning pounded the Ducks for a 6-2 victory in November at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning are winners in five of their last eight outings against the Ducks. Anaheim haven’t beaten Tampa since 2018, which was a much better team for the Ducks. That team is long gone, as they continue their rebuilding efforts. Anaheim goes from an offensively challenged Coyotes team on Wednesday to one of the most high-powered units in the NHL tonight. The Lightning are 4th in the NHL with 3.58 goals scored per game. They’ve been consistent in that regard recently, with 3.6 goals per game in their previous ten outings.
Tampa are a team built to score goals, so that’s no shocker that the offensive production is elite. Most of their struggles early in the year were a result of Andrei Vasilevskiy. He was slipping, so it comes as no surprise that the Bolts are generating more wins as he continues his turnaround in 2019-20. Vasilevskiy currently owns a 2.53 GAA and 0.918 save percentage. He was flirting with a 3.00 GAA earlier in the season, so it’s been quite the comeback effort for him. Note that Vasilevskiy has allowed 2 or fewer goals in seven of his last nine outings.
Vasilevskiy’s production against the Ducks in his career has been outstanding. He holds a 1.33 GAA and 0.961 save percentage in three outings versus Anaheim. The offence hasn’t always been there for the Ducks this year. Note that they’ve scored just 2.48 goals per game for 30th in the league. They may have scored 4 goals on the Coyotes, but that was against a struggling Antti Raanta. Vasilevskiy has been on fire recently, and should continue to play well against a team he’s dominated in the past. Expect the Lightning to come out at the Honda Center with a strong effort to defeat the Ducks by a score of 4-2 or 3-2 in regulation.