The Tampa Bay Lightning continues their road trip with a stop in Ottawa tonight. This is the fourth game of their trip up north, as they took two of three before arriving in Ottawa. They took wins over the Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs, but dropped a 2-1 decision to the Canadiens in Montreal. With a record of 29-8-1, the Lightning are sitting pretty in the Eastern Conference.
The Lightning just have to get through the regular season and gear up in the playoffs. They are going to be a favourite to win it all, so anything less is going to be disappointing. Tampa reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but couldn’t win one last series, as the Blackhawks were too much to handle. The Lightning did win a Cup back in 2004, the first and only championship they’ve won. It was the year Dave Andreychuk finally got himself a Stanley Cup.
In 2017-18, the Lightning look like a team who have a significant chance at winning a Cup again. If they can stay healthy, notably Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, the Bolts are going to give some other teams problems in the playoffs. Kucherov was pretty vocal when his team missed the playoffs a year ago, and he’s been allowing his play on the ice to do the talking for him this year. Kucherov leads the NHL in points with 57.
He is also leading in goals with 26. His teammate, Stamkos, is tied for 2nd with 50 points. Elsewhere on the Lightning roster, their goaltender leads the league with 26 wins. Vasilevskiy owns a star-studded GAA of 1.92 with a 0.939 save percentage. His counterpart, Craig Anderson, has been struggling to keep up in net this season.
Anderson owns a 3.15 GAA and 0.896 save percentage, a year after leading his team to the conference finals while dealing with his wife’s cancer diagnosis. Nothing has come together for him and the 13-17-9 Sens. They did get a nice win against the Sharks last night. Matt Duchene scored in OT to give them Senators a 6-5 win. They look to keep the positive vibes going against the high-octane Lightning. Head below for our free Senators vs. Lightning pick.
Ottawa Senators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
The Senators are still searching for their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They’ve come close, and barring a big comeback, are going to be in the same position next season. They’ve been getting pummeled on the defensive side as Anderson has continued to struggle between the pipes. The Sens are allowing 3.33 goals per game, 28th in the NHL. They’ve allowed 3.3 goals in their last ten games, so at least we can say they’re consistent. Conversely, you can find the Lightning all the way at the top, with 2.3 goals allowed per. They have scored 3.3 goals per game in their last ten, while allowing 2 goals.
Ottawa laid out last night to get only their second win in eight outings. There was a sense of urgency from the Sens. Their fans are beginning to get frustrated, and for a night, they made them forget about their early season troubles. After getting high off a win like that a night ago, the Senators have to turn around the next night and play the ultra-talented Lightning, a Lightning team coming off a loss. I do not see this boding well for the Sens. They exerted a ton of energy to get that win against the Sharks. Look for tired legs vs a speedy Lightning team on Saturday. I’d go with the Lightning to win this by a couple of goals or more on the puck line.
PICK: LIGHTNING -1.5 (+140)