In what is the Game of the Day, the Tampa Bay Lightning stop in Pittsburgh for a date with the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. The Lightning remain out east following a tough loss against the Sabres in Buffalo. They came up just short in a 2-1 loss against the Sabres. Buffalo somehow pulled out a win by hitting the net just 19 times. They had 2, count it, 2 shots in the entire 2nd period and still made out with a 2-1 win.
They scored a goal in that period on one of the shots to give them a 50% shot percentage. The Sabres got outshot 14-2 and then outshot 8-6 in the following period. That’s just a tough break for the Lightning, who didn’t play too poorly, but could have generated some better scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, the Penguins had no business being in their game against the Devils in their last outing.
The Penguins looked like they were playing with cement in their skates the entire time, while the Devils skated around them. The Devils got on the board within 30 seconds of the opening puck drop thanks to hustle, something the Pens didn’t have that night. They got dominated in the 5-on-5, while they could only match New Jersey when they went on the power play.
With the 4-2 loss, the Penguins have moved to 1-6 in their previous seven games. It’s not something that has been too familiar to see in the Sidney Crosby era, but they’re at home tonight with a chance to knock off a good team and get some momentum. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Penguins pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick
The offence just couldn’t find the trigger against the Sabres in Buffalo. The Lightning put up 30 shots, but it felt like that it could have been much better. While the Sabres were held in check, I don’t think it was the best game for the Lightning. Tampa are really a good team when their precision tic-tac-toe passing is working in their opponents’ zone.
They didn’t really get that aspect of their game going. Expect them to more motivated to play a better game in Pittsburgh. They are likely going to want to look better than they did in Buffalo, and this is an opponent to get up for. Despite the 1 goal, the Lightning are 3rd in the NHL with 3.5 goals scored per game.
Pittsburgh has been a team that Vasilevskiy has struggled mightily against. He has a great history against the majority of teams in the NHL, but has gotten held up with a 3.67 GAA and 0.898 save percentage. The Penguins are 6th in the league with 3.31 goals per game. Additionally, they’ve notched 4.2 goals per game against the Lightning in their last six meetings.
Conversely, the Bolts have averaged 3.5 goals against the Pens. Matt Murray is likely going to be in net tonight after Casey DeSmith got the nod against the Devils. Murray has been struggling with a 3.87 GAA and 0.886 save percentage, so the Penguins have bene in a bind when it comes to their goaltending. The OVER has gone 6-0 and 9-1 in their last six and ten meetings. Both offences should be able to snap back to life in this showdown of elite clubs in Pittsburgh.