With the NHL tentatively returning to action this Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning and visiting Montreal Canadiens square off in a rematch of last season’s Stanley Cup Final. Taking into account the latest news, stats, and injury reports, Tampa Bay is a sizable favorite on the NHL betting lines as these COVID-stripped squads get back on the ice.
Lightning, Canadiens Scraping for Bodies
Lightning in a Taxi
In case you haven’t heard, the NHL will be returning the “Taxi Squad” rules so expect at least a quarter of NHL rosters, including the Lightning, to contain names you’d normally not see. Tampa Bay will start this game without netminders in Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott along with several others.
So #tblightning players/staff currently in COVID protocol: Mikhail Sergachev, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Brian Elliott, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Anthony Cirelli, Andrej Sustr, Jon Cooper, Rob Zettler
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) December 27, 2021
Syracuse goalies Amir Miftakhov, along with one of Hugo Alnefelt and Maxime Lagace will be called up. Miftakhov appeared in 12 games for the Crunch, posting a record of 3-4-2 with a 90.7 save percentage.
It is a far cry from having the league’s best goaltender but at least Tampa will still have several key players like leading scorer Steven Stamkos and top defenseman Victor Hedman. If any team can overcome the absences, it’s the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Future Canadiens
Watch out Arizona, Montreal is coming for that No. 1 pick. And no, COVID absences don’t need to do anything with this team. The Stanley Cup runners-up already entered the season without several of their best players and general manager Marc Bergevin took the fall for what has been a historically bad season.
Montreal’s 27.4 point percentage is the second-worst record they’ve had ever. This is the worst the team has been since the 1939-40 Canadiens, when the team’s parents were not even born yet.
And there is no sugarcoating how bad the team is. They stink on both ends of the ice. Their power play (PP) is atrocious and they are one of only two teams that do not have a player with at least 10 goals. Betting online against Montreal goes as far as laying juice for the other team’s puckline.
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Head to Head
|12.50%||Power Play %||17.39%|
|82.61%||Penalty Kill %||87.50%|
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Game Information
- Date: Tuesday
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: Amalie Arena
- Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Live Stream: NHL Live
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Lines
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Prediction
Tampa Bay is going to whoop on Montreal here. It would take a herculean effort from Cayden Primeau or whoever starts in net to give Montreal a shot here. But their nerfed power play and subpar penalty kill will be what dooms them. The Lightning have only lost to Montreal twice in the last three seasons.
The question here is if Tampa Bay can beat Montreal by at least two goals. We backed them to do it the first time and the Lightning fell just short. But the Lightning will strike twice and get it done this time.
Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning -1½ (-115)
We’re this close to picking the over here as Tampa Bay could just score six or more goals on Montreal. But a more likely result is the Lightning scoring somewhere between three to five goals while Montreal gets one or none. Take the under from the BetUS online sportsbook.
Pick: Under 6 (-110)
Parlay: Lightning -1½ and Under 6 (+281)