Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Amalie Arena will play host to an Atlantic Division showdown as the Montreal Canadiens square off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s the fourth and last time that the two clubs will meet in the regular season. This one will get underway at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 10 and it can be caught live on The Sports Network.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds

The Lightning are 47-21 straight up (SU) and have earned moneyline bettors 13.7 units this season. That winning percentage, ranked first in the league so far this season, is a solid improvement compared to how the team performed during the 2016-17 season (42-40). Of its 68 games this season, 44 have gone over the total, while 23 have gone under and just one has pushed. The teams 24-8 SU at home this year.

Tampa Bay’s been able to convert on 23.9 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s good enough for fourth-best in the league. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 24th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 77.7 percent of all penalties.

As a team, Tampa has been called for penalties 4.0 times per game overall this season, 4.0 per game over its last five contests total, and 4.2 per game over its last five home outings. The teams had to kill penalties for 10.6 minutes per game over its last five home outings.

Averaging 29.7 saves per game with a .925 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (40-16-3) has been the top goalkeeper for the Lightning this year. If head coach Jon Cooper chooses to give him a rest, however, the Bolts could go with Louis Domingue (4-10-10 record, .881 save percentage, 3.82 goals against average).

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will both lead the offensive attack for the Lightning. Kucherov (87 points) is up to 33 goals and 54 assists and has recorded multiple points 28 times this year. Stamkos has 27 goals and 51 assists to his name and has recorded a point in 47 contests.

Over on the other bench, Montreal is 25-42 straight up (SU) and has lost 20.5 units for bettors taking the moneyline this year. Through 67 regular season contests, 37 of its games have gone under the total, while 28 have gone over and just two have pushed. Montreal’s 9-24 SU as the away team this season.

Montreal has converted on 19.9 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 28th overall and it’s successfully defended 76.3 percent of all penalties.

Montreal’s players have been penalized 3.8 times per game in total this season, 3.8 per game over their past five outings total, and 4.2 per game over their last five games as the visiting team. The team has had to stave off opponent power plays just 8.0 minutes per game over their last five outings.

Carey Price (27.3 saves per game) has been the main option in the net for Montreal. Price has 15 wins, 28 losses, and six OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .904 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average this year.

Brendan Gallagher (24 goals, 17 assists) and Alex Galchenyuk (15 goals, 24 assists) are the top point-getters for Montreal and will pace the attack for the visiting Canadiens.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Predictions

NHL Prediction: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Under

Betting Trends

  • Montreal has managed 30.6 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Tampa Bay is averaging 35.4 shots per game over its last five home outings.
  • The extra-man advantage may prove to be key in the outcome of this game. The Canadiens are 9-14 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 19-28 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Lightning are 24-11 when the team serves fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 28-12 in games where they’re in the box for less than 10 minutes.
  • Three of Tampa Bay’s last ten games have ended in a shootout. The team is 3-0 in those games and 5-2 overall in shootouts this season.
  • Tampa Bay has managed 9.0 takeaways per game over its last five home games, an improvement over its season average of 7.1 takeaways per game (ranked 18th in the league).
  • Montreal has allowed 3.1 goals per game overall this year, but has given up 4.3 goals per contest over its last three games (0-3 SU over that span).
  • Montreal is ranked 13th with 7.4 takeaways per game. That figure has trended higher lately, as it has averaged 8.5 takeaways over its last 10 games and 8.6 takeaways over its last five.
  • Tampa Bay might hold the upper hand if this one comes down to the wire. The teams 20-9 in games decided by one goal, while Montreal is 10-14 in such games.