Los Angeles Kings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Preview
Where: Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL
When: Monday, February 7, 2017, 7:30 PM ET
Writer’s Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (-110)
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Betting on the Los Angeles Kings (27-22-4, 58 pts)
The Los Angeles Kings will head into Tampa coming off their first loss in a while. They were throttled 5-0 by the Washington Capitals on Sunday, which snapped a 5-game win streak. Peter Budaj took the loss as he lasted just two periods and conceded four goals. He had only conceded three goals in his five previous starts – all wins – which included three shutouts.
Budaj, who continues to fill in for the injured Jonathan Quick, is 3rd in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA this season. The Kings, meanwhile, are 4th in the NHL with a 2.4 GAA. Their penalty kill, in particular, has been outstanding. They haven’t allowed a power play goal in their last seven games, which includes 20 power play kills.
Budaj is just 10-10-2 on the road this season, but his 1.85 GAA and .931 save percentage away from Staples are much better than his numbers at home. He’s also had five of his seven shutouts this season on the road.
But despite scoring three or more goals in four of their five wins during their recent win streak, providing Budaj will goal support remains the team’s big concern. They’re only 23rd in the league in offense, averaging just 2.5 goals per game.
Betting on the Tampa Bay Lightning (23-24-6, 52 pts)
The last place Tampa Bay Lightning got a much needed win on Saturday as they beat the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2, in a shootout. Nikita Kucherova, the team’s leader in points with 47, assisted on both regulation goal. Prior to that win, the struggling Lightning had lost three in a row, six of their last seven, and eight of their 11 games in 2017.
The Lightning just haven’t had any spark on offense recently. They’ve scored more than three goals just once in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, their power play has struggled mightily. They’ve gone just 4-of-36 during that 10-game span, and went 1-of-7 against Anaheim.
Star goalie Ben Bishop hasn’t been at his best this season, as is now subject to trade speculation. The 30-year-old has a 2.79 GAA this season and a .904 save percentage, his worst in five years. But after giving up 9 goals in his last two games, he stopped 14 of 16 shots against the Ducks.
Bishop also had a very good game the last time he faced the Kings. He stopped 31 of 32 shots to help the Lightning to a 2-1 home win over LA.
However, Bishop has struggled at home this season. He has a 3.04 GAA and .894 save percentage at Amalie Arena, considerably lower than his 2.61 and .911 on the road. The Lightning are just 2-5 in their last seven home games.
The Lightning (-110) get a rare win streak going as they beat the Kings, 3-1.
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