Lightning vs. Golden Knights Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Lightning are a -130 favorite to win on the moneyline. The Golden Knights are a +110 underdog, while the over-under sits at 6 goals.
Tampa Bay enters with a 24-6-1-1 record after a 6-5 victory Saturday at the Avalanche. Las Vegas is 21-9-0-2 following a 5-2 home win Sunday over the Panthers. This is the first-ever meeting between the Lightning and the Golden Knights.
The Lightning were led by defenseman Anton Stralman with two goals and an assist in the win at Colorado. Fellow defenseman Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev each added a goal and an assist apiece. Yanni Gourde contributed a goal and two assists, while Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist. Peter Budaj earned the win in net despite giving up five goals on 37 shots. Tampa Bay led 5-1 after Stralman's second goal early in the third period before it held off a furious rally by the Avs.
Jonathan Marchessault notched a goal and two assists in the victory over Florida. Colin Miller and James Neal both contributed a goal and an assist. Erik Haula and Nate Schmidt had a goal each. Reilly Smith dished out two assists. Malcolm Subban made 16 saves on 18 shots to earn the win. Haula broke a 2-2 tie with 8:20 left in regulation with his goal, while Marchessault and Neal added insurance tallies. Neal has 16 goals this season, while Haula has scored 12 and Marchessault has 11.
Tampa Bay is 5-0 in its last five games against the Pacific Division. Las Vegas is 6-1 in its last seven games overall.
This game should be fun with the NHL's most explosive team going at it with the league's most surprising squad. Making matters more interesting is that it is the first-ever meeting between the two franchises, adding another challenge for bettors. In the end, I believe the Lightning have a few too many offensive juggernauts such as Kucherov and Steven Stamkos for Las Vegas to contend with. Marc-Andre Fleury will be tested in net early and often. While he is a solid veteran goaltender, don't expect him to turn everytihng away.
NHL DAILY PREDICTION: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING -130