Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers Pick
The Lightning and Sabres are currently deadlocked for 1st place in the NHL with 37 points. A win for the Lightning tonight would give them a 2-point lead. I think we will ultimately see the Lightning pull away from the Sabres in the Eastern Conference and maybe a couple of other teams.
The Sabres look like a playoff team, but I’d be surprised if they are still atop the standings come spring time. Doubting Vegas last year didn’t work out well for people fading them, but I’m just trying to be realistic with a team who were dead last a season ago.
Jeff Skinner will eventually hit a stretch of run bad. The Bolts have won four of their last five games. Their only loss came against the Ducks in a 3-1 final. Tampa are 1st in the league with 3.73 goals per game and are going to have the benefit of teeing-off on a bad Panthers’ defence.
They likely won’t have to deal with Luongo this evening, so it’s either a tired Reimer or Hutchison who has been awful with a 4.18 GAA and 0.839 save percentage. The Panthers are 28th with 3.5 goals surrendered per game. Despite the win yesterday, they’ve allowed just over 4 goals per game in their last ten outings. Tampa have recorded 3.9 per game in their previous ten dates on the ice. They’ve gone 6-1 over the Panthers in their last seven outings against their instate “rivals”. It’s difficult to call such a lopsided series a rivalry. I’d take a look at the Lightning to get it done over the Panthers in this stop on Saturday who are coming off a big win overtime a night ago.