Amalie Arena will be the site for an enticing clash as the Tampa Bay Lightning square off against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. It’s the fourth and last time that these two clubs will meet in the regular season. This Atlantic Division matchup will get started at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 5, and it can be viewed live on Fox Sports Sun.
Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
Montreal (+170) is currently the underdog to Tampa Bay (-195) and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at 7 goals. The odds for betting the total stand at -105 money on the over and -115 for the under.
The Lightning are 41-25 straight up (SU) and have earned moneyline bettors 0.7 units this season. That winning percentage, ranked second in the NHL in this young season, is a regression from the 62-20 record that the team managed during last year’s regular season campaign. Through 66 regular season matches, 34 of the team’s games have gone over the total, while 28 have gone under and just four have pushed. The team’s 21-12 SU at home this year.
Tampa Bay has been able to convert on 23.0 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a mark that places them in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked ninth overall, and it’s successfully killed off 82.0 percent of all penalties.
As a team, Tampa Bay has been whistled for penalties 4.1 times per game overall this season, and 5.6 per game over its last five outings home outings. The team has been forced to defend opposition power plays for a whopping 13.8 minutes per game over its last five matchups, in total.
Averaging 28.0 saves per game with a .915 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (33 wins, 16 losses, and three OT losses) has been the top option in goal for the Lightning this year. If the Bolts choose to rest him, however, head coach Jon Cooper could go with Curtis McElhinney (8-9-9 record, .908 save percentage, 2.83 goals against average).
The Bolts will continue to rely on leadership out of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Kucherov (80 points) has tallied 31 goals and 49 assists and has recorded multiple points 25 times this year. Stamkos has 29 goals and 37 assists to his credit and has recorded at least one point in 41 games.
In the other locker room, Montreal is 31-37 straight up (SU) and has lost 14.3 units for moneyline bettors this year. A total of 33 of its outings have gone under the total, while 32 have gone over and just three have pushed. Montreal’s 17-15 SU as an away team this season.
Montreal has converted on 18.5 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 21st overall and it’s successfully killed off 78.6 percent of all opponent power plays.
Montreal’s skaters have been whistled for penalties 3.4 times per game in total this season, and 4.0 per game over their last five contests. The team’s been forced to kill penalties just 8.4 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
Carey Price (27.6 saves per game) has been the primary choice in goal for Montreal. Price has 27 wins, 29 losses, and six OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .910 save percentage and 2.75 goals against average this year.
For the visiting Canadiens, much of the offense will run through Tomas Tatar, who has 39 assists and 22 goals this year.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Free Picks
Free NHL Tip: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Over
For both of these clubs, the over has hit in three of their last five games.
Montreal’s attempted 34.2 shots per contest overall this season (the second-most in the NHL), and 32.7 in its last 10 games.
Extra-man opportunities could play a key role in tonight’s matchup. The Canadiens are 9-10 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 22-27 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Lightning are 14-7 when the team serves fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 25-13 in games where their penalty minutes are in the single digits.
Montreal (4-1 in shootouts) has more shootout experience coming into this one. Tampa Bayemerged victorious in both of its shootouts this year.
Tampa Bay is ranked 19th this season with 7.3 takeaways per game. That figure has trended higher lately, as it has created 8.8 takeaways over its last 10 games and 8.6 takeaways over its last five.
Montreal is ranked 21st with 6.9 takeaways per game. That figure has trended upward lately, as the team has averaged 7.6 takeaways over its last 10 games and 8.0 takeaways over its last five.
Tampa Bay could hold the upper hand if this one comes down to the wire. The team’s 18-13 in games decided by one goal, while Montreal is just 15-22 in such games.