NHL Picks and Predictions: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
When: Tuesday, October 26 - 7:00 pm ET
Where to Watch: ESPN
Spread: Lightning -1
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning Predictions
It’s been a rather mediocre start for the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Through six games they’re just 2-3-1 and are sitting in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. In fact, they have three losses in a row including a 5-1 beatdown against the Buffalo Sabres just last night.
Brain Elliot got the start for Tampa last night and he struggled allowing three goals on just 23 attempts and Buffalo added two empty-net goals against. So far, it’s been the goalie play that’s been a major issue for the Lightning.
Former Vezina winner, Andrei Vasilevskiy has just an .893 save percentage and a 3.12 goals against average with a -2.6 goals saved above average. His job won’t get much easier tonight as he’s going up against the 3-0-2 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh makes no sense. They’re without their two best layers in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and they somehow are still producing. They rank fifth in the NHL in goals so far, and have Danton Heinen, Drew O’Connor, and Evan Rodrigues producing at a high level with three goals apiece.
For context, Heinen’s career high in goals is 16, Drew O’Connor has 14 career games under his belt, and Rodrigues has essentially been a career bottom-six player. It’s remarkable that year in and year out this team just continues to fill holes with major pieces out with injury.
The biggest thing for Pittsburgh is that Tritan Jarry has been actually really good to start the year in net. He has a .943 save percentage and just a 1.47 goals against average. A massive step forward after his struggles last season.
When these two teams played to start the season, Pittsburgh won that contest 6-2. Tampa hasn’t really gotten going just yet and they’ve been outscored 13-5 so far this season. The last time we saw Pittsburgh, they were dominating another Stanley Cup hopeful in Toronto by a score of 7-1. Do they beat another one tonight? I’m not sure how anyone can have faith in Tampa Bay right now, Pittsburgh is too hot give me the home team tonight.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
Penguins ML (+120)