Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning - 3/10/15 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Tampa Bay Lightning (41-20-6) at Montreal Canadiens (42-18-6)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Bell Centre)
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -127 / Tampa Bay Lightning +115 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
In a showdown of two powerhouses in the Eastern Conference the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Early in the season it looked like the Lightning might run away with things in the Atlantic Division, but once they slumped the Canadiens took control and have never looked back. The Lightning find themselves two points behind the Canadiens heading into this game while having played one more game than Montreal. Tampa has won three straight overall and made up some ground on the Canadiens who struggled on their West Coast road trip. This is an interesting match up because the Lightning have led the league in goals all season long and the Canadiens have been the best defensive club in the league. The Lightning have kept that offense going recently, scoring 31 goals over their last eight games. Saturday night they hosted the Dallas Stars and found themselves trailing heading into the third period. Alex Killorn tied the game at 3-3 with his 14th of the season early in the period and less than two minutes later it was Victory Hedman who put the Lightning in front for good. Brian Boyle scored an empty net goal while the Lightning were shorthanded before Dallas eventually scored with three seconds remaining in the 5-4 loss. Anton Stralman scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the opening period. Nikita Kucherov scored his 25th. Andrei Vasilevsky stopped 31 shots to record his sixth win of the year. Tampa Bay has had Montreal’s number this season and with two more meetings against them before the end of the year they have a chance to overcome the Canadiens for the division lead. This game won’t be as easy as the earlier match ups between these two teams.
USA TODAY Sports
Montreal will just be happy to be back at the Bell Centre where they are 22-7-4 on the year. The Canadiens struggled immensely on their road trip through California, but found a way to at least get a victory to end things. After a lowly performance against the Sharks in the San Jose the Canadiens lost a hard fought battle to the Anaheim Ducks. Thursday night in Los Angeles they were suffocated by the Kings defensive game, but still managed to get three goals before losing in a shootout. Saturday night against a far inferior opponent they didn’t do it in a pretty fashion but they found away to get two points. Montreal dominated the opening period, out shooting the Coyotes 15-5 in the scoreless frame. Things were a little more even in the second period but Lars Eller got the Canadiens the lead they need with his 10th goal of the season. Arizona made a strong push in the third but Carey Price rose to the challenge and finished off the 28 save shutout with 15 stops in the final frame. Brendan Gallagher scored an empty net goal to make it a 2-0 final. This is an important game for the Canadiens because not only are the Lightning right on their heels but they haven’t had very much success against them thus far. Yes, those games were earlier in the season but sometimes clubs just don’t match up well with other clubs. The Lightning are going to be in their way just to get out of their bracket so Montreal needs to find a way to use their defensive prowess to slow this high octane Tampa offense down.
This is going to be a fun one between two clubs that should be in playoff mode for this one. Things are pretty even but the Canadiens are on the first game back from a long road trip and the Lightning have played them well this year and are getting good value.