The Tampa Bay Lightning look to get going offensively when they battle the Chicago Blackhawks, and the New York Rangers welcome their rivals in the New York Islanders while on fire.
Tampa Bay Lightning (-350) vs Chicago Blackhawks (+260)
Two recent three-game losing streaks didn’t sit well with the Lightning as they have now won three in a row and shut the door defensively. They have had a bit of trouble scoring as their big guns have been slumping offensively. They seem to be getting out of that and tonight vs the Blackhawks can further help that along.
The Blackhawks have lost three games in a row, including two after giving up a lead of at least three goals, and most recently being shut out by the Florida Panthers. The Lightning are another very good team at home and I expect similar results: a lower scoring game between the two clubs while the Lightning continue to figure out their offence but still locking down the Blackhawks at home.
Nikita Kucherov is someone who has to get scoring more goals for the Lightning, while on the other side, they will have to slow down the top line of Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane, and Alex DeBrincat who have been adding to the offence nearly every game for a long stretch, but that’s it from the Blackhawks. Take the Lightning and the under (U6.5, -120) in this one since the over/under is decently high.
New York Rangers (-175) vs New York Islanders (+145)
These teams have played each other two times already this season, splitting the games. The first was 4-1 in favour of the Rangers, while the more recent game went 2-1 to the Islanders. Both previous games hit the under, and with Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin expected to be in the game for this one, expect it to be very tough for either team to get many past the goaltenders.
It is always a hard-played game between these two rivals and they’ve both played fairly well of late with the Rangers having the upper hand. They have won four games in a row and six of seven, while the Islanders are on a two-game win streak with both wins coming in a home-and-home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Islanders played last night so they will be a little more tired out than the Rangers, while the Rangers continue to fight to maintain second place in their division and home ice in the first round after overtaking the Pittsburgh Penguins. You have to take into account the home record of the Rangers (22-6-3) and the away record of the Islanders (12-14-5) to see how this matchup is swayed. Take the Rangers in this one but expect a close and low-scoring game as usual with these two.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.