Panthers vs. Lightning Pick
Oddsmakers at sports book Bovada.lv have set the Lightning as a -175 favorite to win on the moneyline. The Panthers are a +155 underdog and the over-under is set at 5.5.
Florida completed last season 35-36-11 and failed to make the postseason. Tampa Bay went 42-30-10 in 2016-17 and did not qualify for the playoffs. Tampa Bay won three of the four meetings last year and the total went under three times.
The Panthers were led a season ago by Vincent Trocheck (23 G, 31 A) and Alexander Barkov (21 G, 31 A). James Reimer was 18-16-5 in goal with a 2.53 GAA and .920 on-base percentage. Tampa Bay was led by Nikita Kucherov (40 G, 45 A) and Victor Hedman (16 G, 56 A). Andrei Vasilevskiy had a 23-17-7 record with a 2.61 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The Lightning are healthier now with Steven Stamkos back in action and should be poised to make a playoff push. It starts here against the rival Panthers, against whom they've had success against in recent years. But Florida plays a brand of hockey which leads to low-scoring games, which showed during three of the games against Tampa Bay last season. Expect this one to be a slug-it-out battle where goals will be tough to come by.
NHL DAILY PREDICTION: PANTHERS/LIGHTNING UNDER 5.5