Two franchises that are considered by many to be the best in the National Hockey League, the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning face off at Amalie Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 3, and fans at home can watch this Atlantic Division matchup live on NBC Sports Network.
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
Tampa Bay (-135) is favored over Boston (+115), and oddsmakers at BetMGM have put the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals. If you want to play this game’s total, you’ll be looking at odds of -105 money on the over and -115 on the under.
Netting 1.9 units for moneyline bettors, the Lightning are 41-24 straight up (SU) overall in the 2019-20 season. That winning percentage, the league’s strongest so far in the early season, is a big slide from what the team managed during last year’s regular season (62-20). Through 65 regular season contests, 34 of the team’s games have gone over the total, while 27 have gone under and just four have pushed. The team is 21-11 SU at home this year.
Tampa Bay has connected on 23.1 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that places them in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 12th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.8 percent of all penalties.
As a team, Tampa Bay has been penalized 4.1 times per game overall this season, and 5.2 per game over its last five contests home outings. The team’s had to kill penalties for 15.2 minutes per game over its last five home outings.
Boasting a .914 save percentage and 27.9 saves per game, Andrei Vasilevskiy (33-15-3) has been the primary goalkeeper for the Lightning this season. If head coach Jon Cooper decides to give him a breather, however, the Bolts may turn to Curtis McElhinney (8-9-9 record, .908 save percentage, 2.83 goals against average).
Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will both spearhead the attack for the Lightning. Kucherov (80 points) has tallied 31 goals and 49 assists and has recorded two or more points 24 times this year. Stamkos has 29 goals and 37 assists to his name and has recorded at least one point in 41 games.
Boston is 41-25 straight up (SU) and has lost 1.1 units for moneyline bettors thus far. A total of 35 of its matches have gone under the total, while 27 have gone over and just four have pushed. Boston’s 19-13 SU as the visiting team this season.
Boston enters the matchup with the second-best power-play unit in the NHL, as it’s converted on 25.5 percent of its extra-man chances in the 2019-20 season. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked third overall and it’s successfully defended 84.0 percent of all penalties.
Boston’s skaters have been penalized 3.8 times per game in total this season, and 4.6 per game over their last five road outings. The team has had to kill penalties 11.2 minutes per game over their last five road outings.
Tuukka Rask (27.1 saves per game) has been the main option in the net for Boston. Rask has 24 wins, 14 losses, and six OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .928 save percentage and 2.16 goals against average this year.
Leading the offensive firepower for the visiting Bruins will be David Pastrnak (47 goals, 44 assists) and Brad Marchand (27 goals, 56 assists).
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning Free Picks
Prediction: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Under
For both of these clubs, the over has hit in four of their last five outings.
The extra-man advantage may play a key role tonight. The Bruins are 14-13 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 21-18 when they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Lightning are 14-7 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 25-13 when total penalty minutes are in the single digits.
Boston (0-7 in shootouts) has more shootout experience coming into this one. Tampa Bay, however, has yet to lose a shootout this year (2-0).
Tampa Bay is ranked 17th overall with 7.3 takeaways per game. That figure’s trended upward, as it has forced 9.1 takeaways over its last 10 games and 9.2 takeaways over its last five.
Boston is ranked 15th in the league this season with 7.5 takeaways per game. That figure has trended down lately, however, as the team has created 6.5 takeaways over its last 10 games and 6.8 takeaways over its last five.