Nashville Predators (25-21-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (29-19-4)
|Date & Time||Friday February 12, 2016, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -146 / Nashville Predators +132 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Lightning look to keep pace with the pack in the Atlantic division as they host the Nashville Predators on Friday night.
The Predators head into Tampa Bay on Friday looking to make up some ground in the Central division as they are quickly falling behind the eight ball and are struggling to stay relevant in the wild card race as well. The Preds made the first big trade of the season by sending Seth Jones to Columbus for Ryan Johansen in an attempt to shore up their offense but the move hasn’t worked and now they have lost a key piece to the blue line and one of the best young defensemen in the league. Nashville sits in fifth in the division but are just two points up on the Wild and have some competition in the Pacific now for the two wild card spots that at one time looked like they would be a shoe in to go to the fourth and fifth seed in the Central. The Preds are 11-11-5 on the road and will start Pekka RInne while the Bolts are 17-8-2 at home and will counter with Ben Bishop.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been up and down most of the season but if they can trend upwards heading into the final stretch of the season they should put themselves in a position to qualify for the playoffs and defend their Eastern Conference crown. The Bolts have had some major distractions this season with the likes of Jonathan Drouin and Stevem Stamkos’ future up in the air and while they have still been able to stay in the mix it’ll be interesting to see whether they are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. The Bolts have goaltender Ben Bishop to thank for their success this season as he is having a Vezina type campaign and if they are going to make the playoffs he will have to stay sharp. I anticipate he will in this one as the Bolts are a better team and get a big win at home.