The Tampa Bay Lightning (23-8-5) are 5-0-0 in their last five games against the Boston Bruins (17-11-2). The Lightning will try to earn another win over their division rivals this Saturday night when they host the Bruins at Amalie Arena.
Opening Odds Analysis
The Lightning opened as -130 home favorites and have received enough betting action to bump the line up to Tampa Bay -175. The Bruins are going off at +155 to pull off the upset and the total in this Atlantic Division matchup is set at 5.5 goals.
Boston News & Notes
The Bruins suffered their first defeat of 2022 in a 3-2 loss at home to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Prior to the loss, Boston had won each of its last three games coming off of its 15-day layoff after having gone 5-5-2 over its previous 12 games. Boston’s offense is averaging 2.87 goals per game in 2021-22, down slightly from 2.93 goals per game last season and from 3.24 goals per game in 2019-20.
The team’s defense and goaltending have been a strength this season as Boston ranks sixth in the NHL in goals against allowing 2.60 goals per game. The crease is set to get a little more crowded this month as the Bruins signed Tuukka Rask to their AHL affiliate on Thursday and are expected to promote him within a week or two. It is unclear whether he’d take Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman’s spot on the active roster.
Tampa Bay News & Notes
Nikita Kucherov and Ryan McDonagh each recorded two assists and four different players scored goals in Tampa Bay’s 4-1 win at home over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Andrey Vasilevskiy was rock-solid in goal making 26 saves on 27 shots in the victory. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has a 19-5-3 record, a 2.16 goals against average and a .926 save percentage this season.
Tampa Bay is 9-1-0 in Vasilevskiy’s last 10 starts with the one loss over that stretch being in his return from a COVID-19 related absence to the New York Rangers. Life without Vasilevskiy wasn’t fun for the Lightning as the team allowed 5.3 goals per game in the three games he missed. The Lightning enter Saturday’s matchup with a 12-3-3 record at home this season that includes a current 8-1 SU run over the team’s last nine home games.
How Boston Will Win
The Bruins scored 14 goals in their previous three games before their loss to the Wild. Boston’s defense and goaltending are good enough to give the Bruins a shot at an upset, but the offense will need to be on its A-game to generate chances against Vasilevskiy.
How Tampa Bay Will Win
Tampa Bay is one of the league’s most dominant home teams and has had Boston’s number in recent history with five straight wins. The Lightning should be able to get the job done at home with their usual outstanding play on both ends of the ice.
Computer Pick: Bruins +155
Saturday features a full slate of hockey and for your NHL predictions you can head on over to our NHL computer picks page.
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