Nashville Predators (45-21-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (46-21-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 26, 2015, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -148 / Nashville Predators +134 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Predators look for their third win in a row as they head into Tampa to face off against the Lightning in a battle of two second place teams.
The Predators had long held on to the top spot in the Central division but a lackluster post all-star break has them playing catch up and while they can retake the lead with a win tonight they haven't been playing their best hockey of late. The Preds have gone from drafting with the fourth overall selection, to a borderline playoff team to now where they have emerged as a Western Conference contender and if they can earn home ice advantage in at least the opening round of the playoffs they have a very good chance of advancing to the Central division finals. Pekka Rinne will get the start tonight as he will go up against Ben Bishop as the two goalies who should be in the mix for the Vezina square off in a pivotal show down.
The Lightning have won four in a row and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and are really making a push for the Atlantic division crown as well as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and a win tonight and a Montreal loss in regulation would put the Bolts ahead. Tampa has been ridiculous over the last month of the season and are starting to play very well heading into the postseason and with a ridiculous +51 in goal differential they will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. Tampa has also been lights out at home this season while the Preds have struggled on the road and while I am tempted to take the Preds here due to the law of averages for the Bolts the trends and my gut suggest otherwise so I'll side with the home team.