Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens Matchup Preview

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Bell Centre will play host to an Atlantic Division matchup as the Tampa Bay Lightning come into town to face the Montreal Canadiens. The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 24, and fans at home can catch it live on CBC Sports.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens Odds

Tampa Bay (-180) is currently the favorite over Montreal (+160), and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at an even 6 goals. The odds for betting the total sit at -105 for the over and -115 on the under.

Tampa Bay is 41-20 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 10.3 units this season. 38 of its matches have gone over the total, while 22 have gone under and just one has pushed. As the road team in 2017-18, the Bolts are 21-13 SU.

Tampa Bay comes into the match up with the third-strongest power-play unit in the NHL, as it’s found the net on 24.5 percent of its extra-man advantages this season. Its penalty kill is ranked 24th overall, and it has successfully killed off 77.9 percent of its penalties.

Tampa Bay, as a collective unit, has been whistled for penalties 4.0 times per game this season, and 3.2 per game over its last five on the road. The team has been forced to stave off opponent power plays just 6.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

With a .928 save percentage and 29.3 saves per game, Andrei Vasilevskiy (35-15-2) has been the top option in goal for Tampa Bay this season. If it chooses to rest him, however, Tampa Bay may turn to Louis Domingue (3-10 record, .881 save percentage, 3.82 goals against average).

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will both be relied on to produce for the visiting Lightning. Kucherov (80 points) has tallied 32 goals and 48 assists, and has recorded two or more points 25 times. Stamkos has 24 goals and 45 assists to his credit, and has registered at least one point in 41 games.

Over on the other bench, Montreal is 23-37 straight up (SU) and has lost 17.7 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 60 regular season contests, 33 of its games have gone under the total, while 25 have gone over and just two have pushed. It’s 15-16 SU as the home team this season.

Montreal has converted on 21.0 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 26th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 77.1 percent of all penalties.

Montreal skaters have been called for penalties 3.7 times per game in total this season, and 3.0 per game over their last five match ups. The teams had to stave off opponent power plays just 6.9 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Carey Price has denied 27.3 shots per game as the top choice in goal for Montreal. Price has 15 wins, 28 losses, and six OT losses to his credit and has registered a poor .904 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average this season.

Brendan Gallagher (21 goals, 15 assists) will lead the attack for the Habs.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens Free Picks

Prediction: SU Winner – Canadiens, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • The total has gone under in three of Montreal’s last five games.
  • Tampa Bay has managed 28.0 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Montreal is averaging 37.0 shots per game over its last five home outings.
  • Extra-man opportunities may be critical tonight. The Lightning are 23-11 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 24-12 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Canadiens are 9-12 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 17-27 in games where they’re in the box for less than 10 minutes.
  • Montreal is 2-3 in games decided by a shootout this season while Tampa Bay is 2-2 in shootouts.
  • Montreal has created 8.0 takeaways per game over its last five home games, an improvement over its season average of 7.2 takeaways per game (ranked 16th).
  • Tampa Bay is ranked 18th in the league this season with 7.0 takeaways per game. That figure has trended lower lately, however, as it has created 5.8 takeaways over its last 10 games and 6.0 takeaways over its last five.