Tampa Bay Lightning (37-10-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (26-17-6)
NHL: Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET (PPG Paints Arena)
Line & Odds: Tampa Bay Lightning -115/ Pittsburgh Penguins +107 — Over/Under: 6.5
Free ESPN NHL Picks Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
We have an exciting match up set for you today as the top team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning, visit Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have enjoyed a solid season thus far as they are in the thick of a tight race at the top of the Eastern Metropolitan division. Its hard not to find the reason for their success as Crosby leads the team in points with 57 (21 goals, 36 assists) as well as a +18, which is second only to defender Brian Dumoulins’ +26. While he is getting help from players like Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin with 53 points each, they aren’t helping the team overall posting a -15 and -20 plus/minus thus far this season. Overall, the offense is solid averaging 3.49 goals per game (5th in NHL), 32.9 shots on goal (7th in NHL), 10.6% shooting (7th in NHL) and 24.8% on power plays (6th in NHL). These are all solid numbers and ones that prove that this team can hang with the best of them on any night offensively. The problem with this team is their dedication on the defensive side of the ice as they allow 3.06 goals per game (T18th in NHL) on 32.7 shots on goal (24th in NHL). They luckily have the discipline when it comes to penalties as they allow just 7.5 minutes per game (4th in NHL) and they kill 83.3% of opponent penalties (6th in NHL). If they brought that same intensity to the whole game they would probably be one of the better teams with Crosby leading the charge. At goalie, Matt Murray has been regressing since he started off well his first two seasons, so the Penguins have been forced to go a different direction with Casey DeSmith starting more so far this season and he’s delivered with a 2.68 GAA and .917 Sv%
The Tampa Bay Lightning have easily been the best team in the NHL this season as they are currently five points ahead of the Calgary Flames with two games in hand. Why have they been so dominant you might ask? Well the answer is simple it has been the sensational Nikita Kucherov, who currently leads the NHL in points with 78 and assists with 56. He’s also third on the team in goals with 22 while posting a +15 plus/minus. When you add 65 points from Brayden Point and 57 points from Steven Stamkos as well as a bunch of depth behind them you are looking at the best offensive in the league. They average 4.0 goals per game (1st in NHL), 32.8 shots on goal (8th in NHL), 12.2% shooting (1st in NHL) and 29.5% on power plays (1st in NHL). Clearly, there is no team in the league that can match these kind of numbers and that is exactly why Tampa Bay have been winning more games then not. However, they wouldn’t be as good as they are if they didn’t have at least a respectable defense and that they do. They are allowing 2.86 goals per game (T10th in NHL) and 32.4 shots on goal (22nd in NHL). With all those shots on goal the only reason the Lightning are still in the top 10 in goals allowed is because of the incredible goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has a 20-6-2 record with a 2.50 GAA and .925 Sv%. He’s been a huge part of their success and must continue this trend to keep the Tampa Bay defense afloat.
Cover The Spread 365 NHL betting trends
0-5 ATS in their last 5 games
11-5 SU in their last 16 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of their last 6 games
5-2 ATS in their last 7 games
20-4 SU in their last 24 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of their last 7 games
ESPN NHL Scores Tampa Bay Lightning vs Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t been blowing people away and their first game back was far from special as they lost to last place New Jersey Devils. Despite being at home the Penguins will have a lot on their plate defensively when facing the Tampa Bay Lightning and in the end it will be too much.
Pick: Tampa Bay -115