Winnipeg Jets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Two teams that are firmly in the playoff picture, the Winnipeg Jets and the Tampa Bay Lightning collide at Amalie Arena in an East-versus-West showdown. The opening face-off takes place at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 9, and it’ll be broadcasted live on CiTV.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds

Tampa Bay (-180) is currently the favorite over Winnipeg (+160), and the Over/Under (O/U) has been set at an even 6 goals (-120 under, +100 over). Tampa Bay is 20-8 straight up (SU) and has netted 9.2 units for moneyline bettors this year. That winning percentage, ranked first in the league in this young season, is an improvement over the 42-40 record from the 2016-17 season campaign. Of its 28 games this season, 17 have gone over the total, while 11 have gone under and none have pushed. The teams 12-3 SU at home this year. The Lightning come into the matchup with the second-best power-play unit in the NHL, as they have scored on 28.3 percent of their extra-man opportunities this year. On the other hand, their penalty kill is rated ninth overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 82.4 percent of all penalties. The Lightning, as a collective unit, have been penalized 3.9 times per game overall this season, and 2.4 per game over their last five games at home. The teams had to defend opponent power plays for just 6.7 minutes per game over their last 10 outings, in total. With a .932 save percentage and 30.6 saves per game, Andrei Vasilevskiy (18-5-1) has been the top option in goal for the Bolts this year. If Tampa Bay chooses to rest him, however, the team could go with Peter Budaj (2-3-3 record, .881 save percentage, 3.40 goals against average). The Bolts will continue to look for offensive production out of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Stamkos (41 points) has tallied 12 goals and 29 assists and has recorded two or more points 11 times this year. Kucherov has 19 goals and 21 assists to his credit and has recorded at least one point in 22 contests. On the other side of the rink, Winnipeg is 17-12 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 4.3 units this year. A total of 16 of its outings have gone over the total, while 13 have gone under and none have pushed. As the visiting team, the Jets are 7-9 SU so far. The Jets have scored on 26.2 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s good enough for fourth-best in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 19th overall and it’s successfully killed off 79.4 percent of all opponent power plays. Winnipeg’s players have been penalized 4.4 times per game in total this season, and 5.2 per game over their past five games. The teams been forced to stave off opponent power plays 9.2 minutes per game over their last five road outings. Connor Hellebuyck (.921 save percentage and 2.44 goals against average) has been the main option in goal for Winnipeg. Hellebuyck is averaging 27.0 saves per game and has 15 wins, eight losses, and three overtime losses to his credit. For the visiting Jets, the offense will run through Blake Wheeler (eight goals, 29 assists) and Mark Scheifele (14 goals, 20 assists).

Winnipeg Jets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Over

Betting Trends

  • The over has hit in three of Tampa Bay’s last five games.
  • Tampa Bay has scored 3.8 goals per game overall this year, but has upped it to 5.3 per contest in its last three games (the team’s a perfect 0-0 SU over that span).
  • Over Tampa Bay’s last ten outings, eight of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 5-3 in those games).
  • Winnipeg skaters have given out the leagues 11th-most hits per game (22.2).