If you were wondering where the Tampa Bay Lightning were early this season, it’s time to take notice because they’ve arrived in 2019-20. After shaking off what was one of the biggest series upsets in sports, the Lightning have been untouchable lately. They were untouchable all of last season in the regular season, and that didn’t get them very far, though.
We’ll see if peaking a bit later in the season helps them out. Heading into Thursday night, the Lightning are on an 11-game winning streak. The Lightning have secured at least a point in 13 straight games for one epic run that is forcing the Bruins to keep up in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins are doing a good job doing that.
In fact, Boston are still in control of the Atlantic with 88 points compared to 85 points for the Lightning. Do the Lightning really want to press that hard and win the Presidents’ Trophy again, though? I don’t believe in curses in sports, but I do believe in peaking too early. If the Lightning keep mowing over every team all the way up to April, are they going to collapse again in the first round?
Maybe, but I will say that they’re going to be on high alert this time. I’m not expecting them to go into the first round sloppy thinking they are going to steamroll the competition. Having said that, bottom seeds in the NHL are pretty good teams. This isn’t the NBA where at 8th and 7th seed is an automatic exit.
Tamp will be in Las Vegas tonight for a meeting against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights made a move by trading for Alec Martinez on Wednesday. We knew that the Kings were shopping Martinez to a contender for months now. This doesn’t come as a surprise.
The acquisition helps bolster a Golden Knights’ defence that has been hit and miss in 2019-20. They’ve been playing a lot better lately, but it hasn’t happened constantly enough. That also includes Marc-Andre Fleury, who has found his game again. Fleury does not have an easy matchup against the red-hot Lightning tonight, though. Tampa has been making it look simple against whoever is in their way. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Golden Knights pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Lightning vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The Lightning are coming off a 4-3 win in a thriller against the Avalanche. Kucherov got the winner in overtime, as he didn’t waste time 31 seconds into the extra session. It helped extend their win streak to 11 games, with their eyes set on Las Vegas for their 12th. Could this be where they have a letdown spot?
The Golden Knights have been playing better hockey lately. Not nearly as hot as the Lightning, but they are on a three-game winning streak and have looked a heck of a lot better in those games. It’s helped get the Golden Knights into a tie with the Canucks for 2nd in the Pacific Division. They remain a point behind the Oilers for 1st.
Vegas addressed their defence with the Martinez trade, but as far as tonight is concerned, they will have a huge test ahead of them. The Lightning can score on just about every defence in the league, including the Golden Knights. Tampa is 1st in the league with 3.55 goals per game. They were able to edge out the Avalanche in their last outing to move past the Avalanche who are 2nd in the league with 3.54 goals per game following the loss.
The Lightning have been slightly below their goal average recently, as they’ve notched 3.4 goals per game in their previous ten tilts. However, they were working without Steven Stamkos and Kucherov in several of those games. They both returned from lower-body injuries on Saturday and the offence instantly saw an upgrade in a 5-3 win against the Flyers. So, the Lightning have scored 9 goals since their return to the ice. Kucherov and Stamkos are the No. 1 and 2 point producers and goal scorers on the team.
Vegas has been efficient in the offensive zone this season, especially at home where they’ve scored 3.32 goals per contest. For whatever reason, Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t cared too much about playing in Las Vegas. He carries a 2.96 GAA and 0.90 save percentage at T-Mobile Arena into tonight. Contrast that with the road, where Fleury has a 2.51 GAA and 0.915 save percentage. As a team, the Golden Knights have yielded 3.13 goals per game in Vegas. They’ve been better defensively recently, but expect the Lightning sharpshooters to change that Thursday night.