Tampa Bay is 25-9 straight up (SU) and has netted moneyline bettors 12.8 units this year. That winning percentage, ranked first in the league so far in the early season, is a solid improvement compared to how the team performed during the 2016-17 season (42-40). Among its 34 games this season, 21 have gone over the total, while 13 have gone under and none have pushed. The team is 14-3 SU at home this season.A couple of teams that’ve positioned themselves firmly in the playoff hunt, the Minnesota Wild and the Tampa Bay Lightning collide at Amalie Arena in an East-versus-West tilt. The first puck drops at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 23, and it can be seen live on Fox Sports North.
Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
The Lightning enter the matchup with the second-best power-play unit in the NHL, as they have converted on 27.6 percent of their extra-man advantages this year. On the other hand, their penalty kill is rated 25th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 78.2 percent of all penalties.
As a team, the Lightning have been called for penalties 4.1 times per game overall this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five games at home. The teams had to kill penalties for 8.9 minutes per game over their last 10 outings, in total.
Averaging 29.8 saves per game with a .931 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (22-6-1) has been the primary option in goal for the Bolts this year. If Tampa Bay chooses to give him the evening off, however, head coach Jon Cooper may turn to Peter Budaj (3-3-3 record, .878 save percentage, 3.67 goals against average).
Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will both spearhead the attack for the Lightning. Kucherov (50 points) is up to 23 goals and 27 assists and has recorded two or more points in 17 different games this year. Stamkos has 13 goals and 32 assists to his credit and has recorded a point in 24 games.
Over on the other bench, Minnesota is 18-17 straight up (SU) and has lost 0.6 units for moneyline bettors this year. A total of 17 of its games have gone over the total, while 15 have gone under and just two have pushed. As the visiting team so far, the Wild are 8-11 SU.
The Wild have converted on 20.4 percent of their power play chances this year, a figure that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked fourth overall and it’s successfully killed off 83.7 percent of all penalties.
Minnesota’s players have been penalized 4.3 times per game this season, and 5.2 per game over their last five on the road. The teams been forced to stave off opponent power plays 11.0 minutes per game over their last five road outings.
Devan Dubnyk (.916 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average) has been the primary option in goal for Minnesota. Dubnyk is averaging 27.8 saves per game and owns a 13-10-2 record.
Eric Staal (14 goals, 17 assists) will pace the attack for the visiting Wild.
Minnesota Wild at Tampa Bay Lightning Free Picks
Predictions: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Over
- Minnesota is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Tampa Bay is 2-1 in shootouts.
- The over has hit in three of Tampa Bay’s last five games.
- Minnesota has managed 30.8 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Tampa Bay has been attempting 35.0 shots per game over its last five at home.
- Over Tampa Bay’s last ten outings, five of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 5-0 in those games).