Tampa Bay Lightning (32-18-5) at Minnesota Wild (29-21-7)
|Date & Time||Tuesday February 4, 2014, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -116 / Tampa Bay Lightning +105 --- Over/Under: 5
The banged up Tampa Bay Lightning will finish their four-game road trip with a stop in Minnesota to take on the Wild. It’s the second and final meeting this season, as Tampa Bay won the previous matchup 3-1 back in October.
Tampa Bay is still dealing with injuries to several key players, but finally got back goaltender Ben Bishop, who has been dealing with an upper-body injury. He only allowed one goal in Saturday’s victory over Montreal and could start this game as well. The Lightening need all of the help they can get due to much of their offensive firepower on the sidelines. They’ve scored a mediocre seven goals in their last three games, which isn’t what one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL is used to on a nightly basis.
Minnesota has lost three of its last four games, including an overtime heartbreaker on Saturday to the Calgary Flames. Surprisingly, the Wild are actually getting more consistent offensive production, scoring 11 goals in their last three games. Left wing Zach Parise has produced three goals and five assists in his last three contests. However, the goaltending could improve, as nine goals allowed in two games simply isn’t going to cut it.
This game is a rea toss-up, but it is difficult to go against a healthier Minnesota team at home. The Wild are finally finding ways to score and are taking advantage of power plays, while the Lightening are relying mainly on defense due to so many injuries. Not only is Tampa Bay banged up, but it is also 2-5 in its last seven road trips to Minnesota.
The Wild are an impressive 19-7-1-1 at home this season and have won three straight in front of their home fans.
Give me Minnesota and the small chalk.