Tampa Bay Lightning (29-8-2) at Montreal Canadiens (16-20-4)
|Date & Time||Thursday January 4, 2018, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens +153 / Tampa Bay Lightning -170 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Montreal Canadiens look to snap out of their losing funk as they welcome the league’s top team in the Tampa Bay Lightning to town on Thursday night.
The Bolts head into Montreal looking to extend their opponents’ misery and earn yet another victory as they are a very impressive 29-8-1 this season and have 13 victories away from home as they look like one of the league’s biggest threats to win the Stanley Cup this season. Tampa Bay had a nice stretch dating back a few seasons ago when playing the Canadiens head to head and while the teams are heading in opposite directions this season it has been Montreal that has had Tampa’s number as the Habs are 4-1 in their last five games at home against the Lightning and while the Bolts have been thrashing everybody this season they are going to be in tough on the road against a Canadiens side that will be playing desperate hockey. Tampa is expected to send Andrei Vasilevskiy to the crease here as he will face off against Carey Price who will need one of his best games of the season if they’re going to keep the Lightning off the scoreboard.
The Canadiens are in a funk to say the least right now as they are winless in their five games and are starting to lose the faith of their die hard fan base and that is a huge cause for concern as some changes both on and off the ice seem imminent and it could very well happen before the season is over. Montreal still has a chance to turn things around but with how they have been playing it may be a better idea to start the rebuild as they have lost a ton of chips and talent in their prospect pool and they will get a chance to see first hand some of the deals they have made as young defenseman Mikhail Sergachev will be back in Montreal after getting dealt to Tampa for Jonathan Drouin in the offseason.
The Lightning are 9-2 in their last 11 games following a win and 41-15 in their last 56 overall while the Canadiens are 1-4 in their last five home games and 20-7 in their last 27 following a home loss of three goals or more. This is a tough one to call as all signs point to another Montreal loss but it is this type of game where they step up and send a message by taking down one of the league’s elite.