Two teams preparing for playoff runs face off in Raleigh. It's time to continue our NHL odds series with a Lightning-Hurricanes prediction, pick, and how-to watch.
The Hurricanes are coming off a loss to the Boston Bruins, but it was a tight game against the best team in the NHL. Before that, they had won three out of four, and eight of 12 overall. The scoring, which had been great all year, is not fully back, but they managed three against the Bruins, and five against Toronto. The Lightning comes in with a four-game losing streak, all of which they have not gotten to the three-goal marker. In that four-game span, they have been outscored 17-7. They need a turnaround against this Hurricanes squad.
Here are the Lightning-Hurricanes NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Lightning-Hurricanes Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning: +1.5 (-205)
Carolina Hurricanes: -1.5 (+168)
Over: 6.5 (+112)
Under: 6.5 (-140)
How To Watch Lightning vs. Hurricanes
TV: Bally Sports South / ESPN+
Time: 7:00 PM ET/ 4:00 PM PT
*Watch NHL games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Lightning Could Cover The Spread
Tampa Bay is just simply struggling. In the last four games, they have been outshot in three of them. They have given up three power-play goals, and they have lost all four. Tampa Bay is just not producing offensively. The Lightning has only gotten to the thirty-shot plateau once in the past four games, and while they score two, goaltending let them down giving up three goals on 20 shots. To get back to winning, the shot production has to go up. When they have gotten over 35 shots, they are 3-2-1 in March. In one of the two losses, it was goaltending that let them down allowing three goals on 22 shots. The other game was the penalty kill, which gave up two goals in five chances.
Tampa Bay is expected to start Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight in goal. His last three starts have all been losses, but he showed much better play in the most recent game, a 2-1 loss to Boston. In that game, he saved 32 of 34 shots, with a .941 save percentage. He has struggled overall in March, going 3-5-2 with a .889 save percentage and giving up an average of 3.28 goals per game. For Tampa to reverse their fortunes, Vasilevskiy needs to return to early season form.
Beyond the goalie, Brayden Point has cooled off a lot. After six goals in his first six games of March, he has just two in the eight since. Part of this is shot total. He had 20 shots in those first six games, but only ten since. He needs to get back into scoring positions, but against a Carolina defense that gives up the least amount of shots in the NHL, that may be tough.
Why The Hurricanes Could Cover The Spread
First, the Hurricanes need to keep up their defense. As noted, they give up the least amount of shots in the NHL. The margin between them and second place is 116 shots, which is over one per game. In tight games, that is the difference between a win and going to overtime, or overtime and a loss. Carolina has gotten some of the best goaltending play in the NHL as well. Their goals-against average this year is second in the NHL, with a 2.56 goals-against average. This bodes well for the Hurricanes as they face a struggling offensive unit.
In goal tonight will be Pytor Kochetkov, who is fourth in the NHL with four shutouts on the season. His last time out he saves 41 of 44 shots, giving the Hurricanes a 5-3 win over Toronto.
Carolina has had some struggles with scoring at times this year, but they just put in three against the best goals against an average team in the league, Boston. In that game, Necas had an assist, Pesce had two, and Aho scored. That is the perfect recipe for a Carolina victory, they just happened to be playing Boston. A repeat performance of that game will get them a win tonight.
Final Lightning-Hurricanes Prediction & Pick
The Lightning are struggling to find goals right now. Playing against the Carolina Hurricanes is not a good fix for that problem. Minus the last two games, Carolina is not even giving up many opportunities. Since March 1st, they have held three different teams under 20 shots. One of those teams was the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 5th. Carolina is also one of the best home teams in the NHL at 25-9-3, while Tampa Bay struggles on the road at 17-19-1. Carolina wins this one, as they can just produce more, even if Tampa Bay gets good goaltending.
Final Lightning-Hurricanes Prediction & Pick: Carolina -1.5 (+168)