Lightning vs. Senators NHL Pick – January 4th

The Tampa Bay Lightning remain on the road following a 2-1 win in Montreal on Thursday night. The Lightning struck early with 2 goals in the 1st period and then sat on the lead. They didn’t have to find more offence, with the defence taking care of the best and securing a 2-1 win. The Lightning were on the heels of a monster comeback against the Buffalo Sabres. Down by a score of 4-1 mid-way through the 2nd period, the Lightning woke up and piled the goals on in Buffalo.

A 3-goal period was the difference, as they notched a 6-4 win in an exciting fashion. Lightning fans are hoping that it’s the turning point in their season that they need to catch fire. The Lightning have largely been lackadaisical with their approach on the ice in 2019-20. Perhaps the new year can bring more positive than negative for the Lightning.

Tampa have yet to lose in 2020, so it’s a good start for the Lightning this year. They have a lot of work to do in the second-half to make a run at the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division, but it’s not going to be impossible. With a record of 22-13-4 and 48 points, this season hasn’t been as dark as some pundits have made it out to be.

Considering the Lightning went 62-16-4 last season, it’s a bit of a shock to see the Lightning only three losses in regulation from tying their 2019-20 mark. However, it is more than likely that the Lightning are going to be a playoff team, and that’s all it takes for a chance at the Stanley Cup. If they peak at the perfect time, their sluggish regular season will be meaningless. Last season they peaked way too early and ultimately didn’t win a game in the playoffs.

The Senators are just looking for signs of improvement this season. We’ve seen them, but what we’ve also witnessed are signs that the Senators are not ready to compete. If we’re sitting in two years and there hasn’t been serious improvements made, then we can say that the Senators wasted a lot of time rebuilding this team in the post-Erik Karlsson era. The Senators enter Saturday night with a record of 16-20-5 and 37 points.

We do know that the Sens will improve at least a spot in the standings from last season. They’re next to last, but hold a considerable advantage by 14 points over the Red Wings. Detroit is so bad that the Senators don’t have to worry about that. The defence must be better by tenfold if they’re expecting to compete with the Lightning tonight. The Panthers and Penguins made it look easy in their most recent outings. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Senators pick.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Ottawa Senators Betting Odds:

Spread:

  • Lightning -1.5 (+110)
  • Senators +1.5 (-130)
Moneyline:

  • Lightning (-225)
  • Senators (+185)
Total Points:

  • Over 6.5 (-115)
  • Under 6.5 (-105)

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Lightning vs. Senators Prediction:

Anders Nilsson is far from an All-Star, but his absence is a hidden reason for the Senators’ struggles recently. No, that’s not the only reason, but without Nilsson, 38-year-old Craig Anderson is being forced into extra work. Marcus Hogberg has been pretty terrible, so the Senators have been cautious in giving Hogberg starts. Anderson is listed as the probable starter between the pipes for the Senators on Saturday. He’s coming off a shoddy performance against the Panthers and Devils.

The Panthers got to Anderson for 5 goals on 30 shots for a 0.833 save percentage. Meanwhile, the Devils scored 4 goals on 34 shots against Anderson. He was playing well, but with no reasonable backup behind him now with Nilsson out, there could be some concerns of getting overworked. Anderson heads into Saturday night with a 3.06 GAA and 0.903 save percentage on the season. The Senators are 26th in the league, having allowed 3.32 goals per game.

That number shoots up when playing in Kanata at the Canadian Tire Centre. Ottawa have yielded 3.77 goals per game at home this season, and the Lightning scored 4 goals in a 4-3 win over the Sens just a couple of weeks ago. The Bolts peppered the net with 40 shots to overwhelm Hogberg in the crease. Andrei Vasilevskiy could have been better in net, as he allowed 3 goals on just 28 shots for a 0.893 save percentage. By all accounts, Vasilevskiy has had a down season after winning the Vezina.

Vasilevskiy owns a 2.83 GAA and 0.909 save percentage in 29 starts. Prior to shutting down the Canadiens, Vasilevskiy yielded 4 goals in three of his previous four outings, and at least 3 goals in five of six games. The Senators’ offence has held up well at home, with 3.26 goals scored per contest at the Canadian Tire Centre. Note that there has been an average of 7.7 goals scored in the last ten meetings between the Lightning and Senators. The OVER has gone 8-2 since December 21st of 2017. Expect another fun game, with plenty of offence to keep spectators in Kanata entertained.

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The Bet
OVER 6.5
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.