These matchups are the late games on the schedule and should be entertaining games to watch, featuring two of the top teams in the East and two teams battling for playoff position in the West.
Vancouver Canucks (+120) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (-145)
The first of the games features the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning who are coming off a loss to the Edmonton Oilers where they were widely outplayed. They won’t have an easy ride tonight either, as a Bruce Boudreau-run Vancouver Canucks have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since he took over and they have climbed their way to within a few points of a playoff spot.
The Lighting are coming into game five of their six-game road trip out west in which they are 1-3-0 thus far. It was the first time all season they have lost two consecutive games in regulation before dropping a third to the Oilers. They won’t be happy and haven’t lost four in a row in any regard all season.
Despite the situation, the Lightning are still a much better team and will have their starter Andrei Vasilevskiy back in net for tonight’s matchup. The Canucks also won’t have a slouch in net with Thatcher Demko and it should be a tight game.
The Canucks are 6-1-1 in their past eight games and have knocked off some stiff competition in the Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs. They aren’t the best team at home with a 13-10-4 record but opponents always have to be aware of J.T. Miller, the former Lightning player, and what he has been able to do. Take the Lightning to bounce back and break their slump.
Los Angeles Kings (+180) vs Florida Panthers (-225)
The Florida Panthers at the Los Angeles Kings game should also be a highly contested one. The Kings are going to have their hands full with the highest-scoring team in the NHL after dropping back-to-back games versus the lowly San Jose Sharks. They will have to really tighten up defensively as they have allowed nine goals in the past two games.
The Panthers have won five in a row and have scored 25 goals, so don’t expect much different from this game as all the stars just keep rolling and finding the back of the net on a nightly basis. The Kings are also down Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson, so they are further exposed on the back end and have less help in front of whichever goaltender is starting. I would assume it’s Jonathan Quick, as the team went with Cal Petersen the last two games and they didn’t get the results they wanted.
Take the Panthers and add the over for this game as well (O6.5, -105).
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.