In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning won their only Stanley Cup by beating the Calgary Flames in seven games. Anyone for a Cup rematch this June? Coming out of the NHL All-Star break, the Lightning and Flames are the two favorites to win the Cup at MyBookie. Here’s a look at two interesting matchups this week. Check back for the latest NHL odds.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – January 28th Edition
Kucherov, Stamkos, and Vasilevskiy on this weekend’s festivities and the second half of the season ahead of us.2019 #NHLAllStar Game | 86, 91, 88: pic.twitter.com/NxzGFDoo6K— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) 27 de enero de 2019
Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins
- When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET (NBC Sports Network)
The Bolts enter with the NHL’s best record by far – they are almost a lock to win the President’s Trophy. Tampa has been off since a 6-3 home win over San Jose on Saturday. Nikita Kucherov, the NHL’s leading scorer, had two assists. He has amassed a whopping 78 points in only 49 games this year.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 39 shots. He’s 20-6-2 with a 2.50 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage. The Russian played in Saturday’s All-Star Game. Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 13 shots in the Atlantic Division’s 7-4 loss to the Metropolitan Division.
One hallmark of the Lightning this season has been their ability to rebound after a loss. They are an amazing 11-1-0 following a loss this season. Only once this season have the Bolts dropped back-to-back games. “It says a lot (about our character),” star defenseman Victor Hedman said. “We want to be a team that can bounce back after losses.
The Pens closed the first half with an ugly 7-3 loss at Vegas. Sidney Crosby was named the MVP of the All-Star Game Saturday night after the Metropolitan Division beat the Central Division 10-5 to be crowned the champions. Crosby, who skipped the NHL Skills competition due to an illness, had four goals and eight points in two games during the 3-on-3 tournament.
Tampa won the lone meeting between these teams 4-3 in Pittsburgh on Nov. 15. Brayden Point scored three straight power-play goals in 1:31 — the sixth-fastest three goals in NHL history. Bill Mosienko holds the record, scoring three times in 21 seconds for Chicago against New York in 1952. Point’s 91-second burst was the first NHL hat trick of his career and the second-fastest three goals since 1967-68.
Pittsburgh took three penalties in 10 seconds in the final minute of the first period. Point’s first power-play goal came with 2.7 seconds left in the first. He scored twice in the first 1:28 of the second period, finishing two one-touch passing sequences with one-timers. Yanni Gourde also had a power-play goal, Kucherov added three assists, and backup goalie Louis Domingue made 28 saves for Tampa. Crosby didn’t play. Pittsburgh committed eight penalties through two periods, which led to four Tampa Bay power-play goals.
Calgary Flames at Washington Capitals
- When: Friday, 7 PM ET (ESPN+)
The Caps will be without superstar Alex Ovechkin in this potential Stanley Cup Finals preview. He’s serving a one-game suspension for skipping the All-Star Game. Ovechkin said he wanted the extra rest, with the league’s all-star break bleeding into the Capitals’ bye week, which gave him more than a week off. With the Capitals coming off a Stanley Cup run, Ovechkin’s offseason was a month shorter than in past years, which left him less time to recover from playing 106 games, including the playoffs. Ovi leads the league in goals.
The Flames have an MVP candidate in Johnny Gaudreau and the Norris Trophy leader in Mark Giordano. Giordano has 11 goals and 52 points in 49 games thus far while averaging 24:45 minutes. Offensively, this is shaping up to be the best season of his career. Gaudreau won the puck control relay at the NHL’s All-Star skills competition.
Calgary appears to be the team to beat in the West. Sean Monahan credited first-year head coach Bill Peters with the team’s Flames’ change of fortunes this season.
“It’s a different feeling in our dressing room, and he is a big part of that,” said Monahan. “The mentality of our dressing room now, it’s completely different, and I think that’s a big credit to what he’s brought in for us.”
The Flames missed the playoffs last season with a 37-35-10 record, which led to Glen Gulutzan being relieved of his coaching duties after just two years. Peters was brought in as his replacement and Calgary has been dominating with a 33-13-5 record thus far. A big part of their jump has been thanks to the acquisition of Elias Lindholm and breakout of Matthew Tkachuk, which have given the Flames another two major offensive weapons in addition to Gaudreau and Monahan.
Calgary lost at home to Washington 4-3 in a shootout on Oct. 27. Nicklas Backstrom scored the winner in a shootout. Caps goalie Pheonix Copley (he of the weirdly spelled first name) stopped 27 of 30 shots in regulation and overtime and four of five in the shootout. Monahan scored for the Flames in the shootout. Flames goaltender Mike Smith turned away 24 of 27 shots in regulation and overtime.
Expert NHL Betting Picks
Take the Lightning and Flames.