When the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators see each other, it’s usually a battle between two teams high up in the standings. That isn’t the case for this December meeting at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The Lightning and Predators have both been struggling to get things going this season. It hasn’t been totally miserable, but they’re way off pace from their expected results.
This has been a surprise for both teams, but probably the Lightning more so because of how they didn’t even break a sweat en route to a record of 62-16-4 with 128 points. It wasn’t even remotely close in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins finished with 107 points, so there wasn’t much debate about who the best team was. Who the best team was in the regular season, that is.
The Lightning didn’t win another game that season, as we all know. In 2019-20, they haven’t found the switch to get this season going yet. Instead, the Lightning have been paddling about treading water in the same spot. The head into Music City on Tuesday with a record of 12-9-3. Obviously there is a lot of left for them to get hot and go on a massive tear, but their defence of the Presidents’ Trophy isn’t going too swimmingly.
That’s probably for the better if you believe in the curse of that trophy, though. The Washington Capitals most recently had to avoid it to finally win the Stanley Cup. The Lightning are coming off a 3-2 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. They got behind 3-0 and were never able to fully recover despite a strong push at the end. Curtis McElhinney was unable to get the win over his former team, as James Reimer came up big on the other end for the Canes.
The Predators have been in a similar position this season. They’re 12-10-4 and playing well below their projected mark. It was a lifeless performance in Sunrise a day after beating the Hurricanes the day prior. They’ll be back home for the first time since a demoralizing 4-3 loss in overtime against the Golden Knights. The Preds got a point, but they were less than a second away from 2 points. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Predators pick.
NHL Awards Odds, Predictions and Value Picks
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators Betting Odds:
Lightning vs. Predators Prediction:
The Lightning have an abundance of talent on paper. That goes for both ends of the ice, with enough firepower that should have them playing better hockey than they have been thus far. They just about may have gotten over the bump and generated some momentum recently. But the Capitals edged them out by a score of 4-3 on Black Friday, as the Lightning blew a 3-1 lead in Washington. Tough loss for the Lightning. It’s something they were not accustomed to last season.
A 3-1 lead was generally lights out team for the opposition. With Andrei Vasilevskiy in net, the Lightning closing out games was a sure bet. Although, Vasilevskiy has struggled with a 2.96 GAA and 0.906 save percentage. Those are backup numbers and not numbers you come to expect from a goaltender of his ability. He did not play against the Hurricanes in the 3-2 loss. Vasilevskiy did however appear against the Blues and Capitals recently.
It did not go well for him in both instances, as he allowed 4 goals in each contest for a 0.879 save percentage and 0.886 save percentage. In four out his last seven starts, Vasilevskiy has posted a GAA below 0.90, which does not look like a guy who won a Vezina trophy not all that long ago. His struggles has caused the Lightning to allow more than 3 goals per game on average.
The Bolts are 25th in the NHL, having yielded an average of 3.29 goals against per contest. That numbers rides up to 3.46 goals allowed per game on the road, but they are still scoring at an effective clip with 3.63 scored per game this season. In their last ten games, they’ve notched 4.1 goals per game, but it’s still not helping in the win column because of Vasilevskiy in the defence.
Nashville has been effective at home in the offensive zone this season, scoring at a rate of 3.4 goals per game. Both teams should be feeling fresh tonight having not played since Saturday. The OVER has converted in five out of seven games in Lightning and Predators’ games on three days rest. This should be a fast paced matchup this evening in Music City.