Tampa Bay Lightning (34-22-5) at St. Louis Blues (40-14-6)
|Date & Time||Tuesday March 4, 2014, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: St. Louis Blues -191 / Tampa Bay Lightning +173 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Bolts and Blues meet up in St. Louis a day before the NHL trade deadline with both teams looking to improve their mark in the playoff picture.
Tampa Bay heads into Tuesday night’s encounter with the Blues battling for second spot in the Atlantic division with the Montreal Canadiens with the latter currently holding down a two point edge but Tampa has been surprising teams all season and will look to do it again here against St. Louis. The Lightning were pegged by many to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference but a stellar campaign from goaltender Ben Bishop has them contending for a playoff berth and the leadership both on and off the ice of Martin St. Louis has the team moving in the right direction. However, there has been speculation that the reigning Art Ross winner wants out of town after some bad blood has surfaced with general manager Steve Yzerman and while the move is still pretty unlikely it could prove as a distraction for all members on the ice and send the team into a tailspin.
The Blues have been one of the best teams in the league all season long and are right in the mix in the competitive Western Conference but their move to acquire Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from the Sabres could have put them into the driver’s seat. St. Louis is a very strong team that has a ton of depth up front despite not having one standout talent, a solid blue line that includes Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo and now Miller who to me is a top five goalie in this league. The Blues won their first outing with Miller in the crease by a 4-2 margin over the Coyotes and can now make it back to back wins here against Bishop and the Lightning though it won’t be as easy as some people are making it out to be. While I am not a believer in this Lightning team they have reason to be upset with their disrespect from the oddsmakers and while I am hopeful this line will go down a bit I can’t see St. Louis losing this one on home ice.