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Penguins Hope to Cool Off Lightning in Key Eastern Matchup

Kris Letang NHL Hockey Betting Preview Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning

The Pittsburgh Penguins (33-14-5) continue a tough three-game road trip at Amalie Arena on Thursday when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (33-15-5) in a matchup between two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams. The Penguins are coming off a 4-3 upset victory against the Washington Capitals as +125 underdogs in the opener of the trip on Sunday for their eighth win in 10 games, while the Lightning have gone an impressive 16-1-2 in their last 19.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Opening Odds Analysis

There has been some early support for Tampa Bay in this spot as the team attempts to keep pace with the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins, who won 2-1 in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. The Lightning had moved as high as -170 late Wednesday night at some sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

The Penguins have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL lately, but they will be facing a team that has been even hotter in this spot.

Four of the past five meetings in Tampa Bay have been one-goal games, with the Lightning winning four of those five, so bettors can expect another very competitive matchup between two clubs that could certainly end up meeting again in the postseason.

Pittsburgh’s last three wins have all been by the same score (4-3), with two of them seeing goaltender Matt Murray earn the victory. Fellow netminder Tristan Jarry did not really play like an all-star in the month of January despite getting picked to represent his team in the game, giving up three goals in seven of his eight starts, but he should still get the nod.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

Andrei Vasilevskiy has performed like the reigning Vezina Trophy winner for the Lightning during their blazing run, losing only one start over his past 14 outings. In fact, Vasilevskiy’s lone two losses since December 14 both came against the Dallas Stars in overtime. He has been outstanding and one of the main reasons the team has seen the OVER cash just three times in the last 11 games.

If he can continue to play at this level, Tampa Bay will give Boston a run for its money down the stretch for the division title. In his first meeting with the Penguins back on October 23, Vasilevskiy stopped 37 of 39 shots in a 3-2 home victory, with the Lightning closing as a -245 favorite.

After a run of beating four straight Pacific Division opponents, Tampa Bay takes on four Metropolitan foes in a row, including Pittsburgh twice.

Betting Pick: UNDER 6.5

There is an interesting totals trend with regard to Pittsburgh’s recent results. In seven of the last eight wins for the Penguins, the total has gone OVER. But in their previous six losses, the UNDER is a perfect 6-0. This is a high number, and the goalies have the potential to shine.

Shark Bites
  • Pittsburgh is 8-2 in its last 10 games.
  • Tampa Bay is 16-1-2 in its last 19 games.
  • The OVER is 7-3 in Pittsburgh’s last 10 games.