As the trade deadline approaches in the NHL, teams need to decide whether they are going to make a move to strengthen their team ahead of the playoffs or simply stand pat. The teams that are going really well may make a few small tweaks if any at all, as the idea is not to upset the great balance and chemistry that is already in place. The same may not be true for teams struggling to land a playoff spot, as they may be more willing to swing a bigger deal that might be what puts them over the top. The Tampa Bay Lightning are one team that is probably not going to do much given that they have the best record in the league right now.
On the flipside, the Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling a little and sliding closer to the playoff line, so they might well be looking to make some changes. These two teams will hook up on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh in what might be a high-scoring affair. The Lightning is a 1 ½ goal favorite, with the goal total set at 6 ½.
Lightning vs Penguins NHL Week 18 Odds & Game Preview
“We want everything to be instinctive. We don’t want questions within our faceoff alignments or assignments… We said these two days were going to be about attention to detail, and that’s what we worked on.”Getting ready to get back at it: https://t.co/lgyTtbWQaE— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) 29 de enero de 2019
- When: Wednesday, January 30 at 8 PM EST
- Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
- TV: NBCSN
- Radio: TuneIn
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
- NHL Week 18 Odds: Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (Total 6.5)
Why bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning?
The Tampa Bay Lightning were far and away the class team in the first half of the season, picking up a staggering 76 points in 49 games. They have a 14-point lead in the Atlantic Division, and you would have to believe that it would take a collapse of epic proportions for this team not to finish as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Prior to the All-Star break, the Lightning was on a run that saw them win 7 of their last 10 games. Playing on the road has certainly not been an issue for this team, as they currently have a 17-5-2 record on opposition ice. These two met earlier in the season, with the Lightning picking up a 4-3 win in Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay has now won 3 of the last 4 meetings with the Penguins, with the average goals per game in those meetings almost at 8.
- Goals: 4.06
- Shots: 32.80
- PP/PK Percentage: 29.70
- Goals: 2.86
- Shots: 32.39
- PP/PK Percentage: 16.46
Why bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins?
This will actually be the second game for the Penguins coming off the All-Star Break, with their return to action ending in a 6-3 thumping at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. The Penguins are falling into a real slump now, losing back to back games and playing .500 hockey over the last 10 games.
That loss took on some real significance, as it allowed Buffalo to close the gap in the race for the final Wild Card spot to just 2 points, with the Penguins being the team in that final playoff position. The Penguins do have a winning record at home, but their 13-9-2 mark is not exactly what you would call convincing. Their defense, which has surrendered 13 goals in their last 2 defeats, will need to tighten up in a big way for this one.
- Goals: 3.51
- Shots: 32.88
- PP/PK Percentage: 24.82
- Goals: 3.10
- Shots: 32.57
- PP/PK Percentage: 16.67
Lightning vs Penguins NHL Week 18 Betting Trends
- Tampa Bay is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games
- Tampa Bay is 20-4 SU in the last 24 games
- The total went UNDER in 5 of Tampa Bay’s last 7 games
- Pittsburgh is 4-2 ATS in the last 6 games when playing Tampa Bay
- Pittsburgh is 8-3 SU in the last 11 games at home
- The total went OVER in 5 of Pittsburgh’s last 6 games
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
The Lightning may come out a little rusty after having a week and a half off, but I think they will soon settle into a nice little groove. I think they pick up the road win here, with the OVER looking like the best bet.
Score: Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – Pittsburgh Penguins 4