The NHL’s slate of games for Thursday, March 24 is highlighted by an Atlantic Division showdown between the Tampa Bay Lightning and surging Boston Bruins.
The Lightning were one of the league’s top teams to begin the 2021-22 season, however, a recent skid has seen them slip down the standings. They’ve lost five of their last seven games, resulting in them entering tonight’s matchup as the Atlantic Division’s third-place club.
On the other hand, the Bruins have been skyrocketing up the divisional standings in recent weeks. Boston has gone 12-2-1 in its last 15 games and only sits one point behind Tampa Bay in the Atlantic.
Will the Lightning be able to snap their skid with a win over their divisional rivals? Or will the Bruins continue their recent success by leapfrogging the Bolts in the standings?
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: Tampa Bay Lightning (39-17-6, 84 points, 3rd in Atlantic Division) vs. Boston Bruins (39-19-5, 83 points, 4th in Atlantic Division)
- Venue & Location: TD Garden (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Date: Thursday, March 24, 2022
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
- Moneyline: Tampa Bay Lightning -110, Boston Bruins -110
- Total: OVER 5.5 (-115), UNDER 5.5 (-105)
- Puck Line: Tampa Bay Lightning +1.5 (-275), Boston Bruins -1.5 (+225)
Odds are via BetMGM.
Lightning Stars Have Disappeared During Skid
One reason why the Lightning have been perennial Stanley Cup contenders over the last few years is because of their star power. After all, a team that boasts the likes of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos stacks up well against any opponent they face.
Unfortunately, the Lightning’s stars have disappeared over their recent seven-game stretch. For example, Stamkos has zero goals and four assists with a minus-five plus/minus rating during that span. Kucherov hasn’t been much better, tallying one goal and three assists with his own minus-seven rating.
Victor Hedman is actually Tampa Bay’s points leader over the last seven games, registering seven points (4 G, 2 A) in that time. While that type of production is always appreciated, the fact that the next closest player has four points indicates that the rest of the Lightning’s forwards must step it up.
One area that the Lightning as a team have struggled in recent is the power play. Although Tampa Bay is usually good for having one of the better power-play units in the NHL, the team has only converted on three of their last 23 man advantages. Considering how Hedman has two of those three goals, head coach John Cooper needs to start working with different strategies.
When it comes to betting odds, the Lightning have been involved in some low-scoring affairs due to their recent scoring issues. The total has hit the under in each of their last six games, as well as each of their last five on the road.
Although they’re the road underdogs, the Lightning should still feel confident because they are 7-0 straight up in their last seven road games against the Bruins. Tampa Bay has outscored Boston by an average of 4-2 over that stretch, so it’ll be interesting to see if that trend continues as well.
Can the Bruins Pass the Lightning?
As mentioned earlier, it’s hard to find a hotter team than the Bruins. Their .800 winning percentage over their last 15 games is the best in the NHL over that span, with the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens sitting second at .700.
Boston’s defense and goaltending has been phenomenal over its last 15 games. The club has allowed just 2.2 goals per game (GPG) in that span, which is also the best among all 32 NHL teams in that timeframe.
The Bruins have also been getting offensive output during their recent successful run. They’ve averaged 3.5 GPG over their last 15 outings while also converting on 21.6% of power-play opportunities (T-No. 16).
David Pastrnak has been his team’s best player lately, recording 16 points in his last 15 games. Of those points, nine of them have been goals, which is why you may want to keep a track of his goal-scoring props — especially due to the slump that the Lightning have been on.
Charlie Coyle has also been playing at a point-per-game pace (15 points in 15 games played), while Craig Smith (14), Taylor Hall (13) and Brad Marchand (13) aren’t too far behind.
When it comes to betting trends, the Bruins are 5-2 straight up in their last seven games as the favorite. Having said that, they haven’t been reliable when it comes to the spread. Boston is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games, which includes going 0-3 ATS at TD Garden over that stretch.
Despite their success, the Bruins have also been involved in some low-scoring games lately. The total has hit the under in six of their last 10 games and has also hit the under in five of their most recent six contests against Eastern Conference opponents. Considering Tampa Bay’s goal-scoring issues, that trend could continue.
Lightning vs. Bruins Prediction
While both teams are among the Atlantic Division’s best, the Bruins are in better shape to walk out of TD Garden with the victory tonight.
Had this been a few months ago, it’d be easier to believe in the Lightning. Instead, the Bruins are looking too hot right now to stop and the big difference is that their stars are actually showing up. That’s why I think taking Boston as the -110 moneyline pick is the best bet.
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