Last Updated: 2017-12-07
Two clubs that split their season series 1-1 last year, the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning face off at Amalie Arena in an East-West tilt. The match gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 7, and fans at home can view it live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
Tampa Bay heads into the game as the obvious favorite with a moneyline of -265. The line for Colorado sits at +225 and the Over/Under (O/U) has been set at an even 6 goals. The odds for betting the total sit at -105 for the over and -115 on the under.
The Lightning are 19-8 straight up (SU) and have netted 8.2 units for moneyline bettors this season. That winning percentage, ranked first in the league in this young season, is an improvement over the 42-40 record from last year’s regular season campaign. Among its 27 games this season, 16 have gone over the total, while 11 have gone under and none have pushed. This year, the team is 11-3 SU at home.
Tampa Bay comes into the matchup with the best power-play unit in the NHL, as it has scored on 28.7 percent of their extra-man chances this year. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 13th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.8 percent of all penalties.
As a collective unit, Tampa Bay has been whistled for penalties 3.9 times per game overall this season, and 2.6 per game over its last five outings home outings. The team’s had to defend opposition power plays for just 6.3 minutes per game over its last 10 outings, overall.
Averaging 30.6 saves per game with a .932 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (18 wins, five losses, and one OT loss) has been the best option in goal for the Lightning this season. If they, however, decide to give him the night off, Tampa Bay could go with Peter Budaj (1-3-3 record, .867 save percentage, 3.75 goals against average).
Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will both be focal points for the Lightning. Kucherov (40 points) has tallied 19 goals and 21 assists and has recorded two or more points 13 times this year. Stamkos has 11 goals and 27 assists to his name and has recorded a point in 19 contests.
Colorado is 12-14 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 0.5 units this year. Through 26 regular season matches, 16 of its games have gone over the total, while 10 have gone under and none have pushed. As the road team so far, Colorado is 4-8 SU.
Colorado has converted on 20.0 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 19th overall and it’s successfully defended 79.2 percent of all opponent power plays.
Colorado’s players have been penalized 4.5 times per game in total this season, and 3.8 per game over their last five road outings. The team’s had to kill penalties 8.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
Semyon Varlamov (28.7 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for Colorado. Varlamov has eight wins, eight losses, and one OT loss to his credit, while registering a .905 save percentage and 3.09 goals against average this year.
For the visiting Avalanche, the offense will be facilitated through Nathan MacKinnon, who’s got 21 assists and 10 goals this season.
Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Free Picks
Predictions: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Over
The total has gone over in three of Tampa Bay’s last five outings.
Colorado has managed 30.2 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Tampa Bay is averaging 36.4 shots per game over its last five home outings.
Power plays and penalty kills may prove to be critical in this matchup. The Avalanche are 6-5 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 6-9 when they’re in the penalty box for fewer than 10 total minutes. The Lightning are 11-4 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 10-4 in games where total penalty minutes are in the single digits.
Tampa Bay is 1-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Colorado is 1-1 in shootouts.
Tampa Bay is ranked 13th overall with 7.9 takeaways per game. That figure’s trended lower recently, however, as the team has averaged 6.6 takeaways over its last 10 games and 7.2 takeaways over its last five.
Colorado has scored 3.1 goals per game overall this year, but has been averaging 1.7 goals per contest over its last three games (0-3 SU over that span).
Colorado skaters have averaged 5.6 takeaways per game over its last five road games, a drop-off from its season average of 7.9 takeaways per game (ranked 13th in the NHL).
Tampa Bay could have an advantage if this one comes down to the wire. The team’s 8-4 in games decided by one goal, while Colorado is 3-6 in such games.