Tampa Bay Lightning at Arizona Coyotes Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

A couple of the least-penalized teams in the National Hockey League, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Arizona Coyotes clash at Gila River Arena in an East-West tilt. The game will get underway at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 14 and it is being televised live on Fox Sports Arizona.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Arizona Coyotes Odds

Tampa Bay (-200) is currently favored over Arizona (+170), and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals (-120 money on the over, +100 on the under). Tampa Bay is 22-8 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 11.2 units this year. Through 30 regular season contests, 18 of its games have gone over the total, while 12 have gone under and none have pushed. As a road team this season, the Bolts are 9-5 SU. Tampa Bay currently touts the second-best power-play unit in the NHL, as it’s scored on 27.7 percent of its extra-man advantages this season. On the other hand, it has the sixth-strongest penalty kill in the league, and the teams successfully killed off 82.8 percent of all penalties. Tampa Bay, as a collective unit, has been penalized 3.8 times per game overall this season, and 2.0 per game over its last five contests. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 6.0 minutes per game over their last 10 outings. Averaging 30.1 saves per game with a .933 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (20-5-1) has been the best option in goal for Tampa Bay this year. If it chooses to give him a rest, however, head coach Jon Cooper might roll with Peter Budaj (2-3-1), who has a .881 save percentage and 3.40 goals against average this year. The visiting Lightning will be led by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Kucherov (42 points) is up to 21 goals and 21 assists, and has recorded multiple points in 14 different games. Stamkos has 12 goals and 30 assists to his credit (and has notched at least one point in 22 games). On the other bench, Arizona is 7-26 straight up (SU) and has lost 17.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. 18 of its games have gone under the total, while 14 have gone over and just one has pushed. This year, the teams 3-9 SU as the home team. Arizona has converted on just 15.5 percent of its power play chances this season, a figure that places it in the bottom overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 15th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.6 percent of all opponent power plays. Arizona players have been whistled for penalties only 3.1 times per game in total this season, and 2.2 per game over their last five at home. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays just 4.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings. Scott Wedgewood (27.8 saves per game) has been the primary selection in goal for Arizona. Wedgewood has three wins, 10 losses, and three OT losses to his name and has maintained a fairly-weak .909 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average this year. The Coyotes offense will be led by Clayton Keller (11 goals, 12 assists).

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Arizona Coyotes Betting Predictions

Predictions: SU Winner – Coyotes, O/U – Under

Betting Trends

  • The under has hit in four of Arizona’s last five outings.
  • Power plays and penalty kills could be key tonight. The Lightning are 14-4 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 13-4 when they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Coyotes are 4-14 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 5-21 when their penalty minutes are in the single digits.
  • Tampa Bay is 1-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Arizona is 1-1 in shootouts.
  • Arizona is ranked 29th in the league this season with 5.3 takeaways per game. That figure has trended upward recently, as it has averaged 6.6 takeaways over its last 10 games and 8.8 takeaways over its last five.
  • Tampa Bay has allowed just 4.6 goals per game (while scoring 1.8 per contest) over the teams five-game winning streak.
  • Tampa Bay skaters have averaged 5.4 takeaways per game over its last five road games, a drop-off from its season average of 7.7 takeaways per game (ranked 14th in the league).
  • Tampa Bay may hold the upper hand if it’s a tight one late. The teams 9-4 in games decided by one goal, while Arizona is 5-10 in such games.