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NHL Sunday Betting Preview: Lightning Waking Up

Tampa Bay Finally Playing Up To Its Potential

Tampa Bay Starting To Roll

It would be excessive to call the 2021-22 regular season a disappointing one for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. But, with the Lightning finishing up without home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and still needing a few more points to make sure they avoid being a Wild-Card team, it isn’t much of an exaggeration.

Tampa Bay’s play is perking up at the right time. The Lightning have won four of five and will try to snap the Florida Panthers’ 13-game winning streak on Sunday in the headline game of the NHL weekend schedule.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

Let’s run through all 11 games on the docket to help you out if you’re betting online:

Red Wings vs Devils

After each suffered rough losses on Saturday, the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils are in action looking to break out of similar slides. Detroit was blown out 7-2 by the Pittsburgh Penguins and has lost six of eight. New Jersey blew a 2-0 third period lead against the Carolina Hurricanes and wound up losing in overtime for their fourth loss in five games.

Still, the Devils are comfortable home favorites. That isn’t surprising in itself but for New Jersey to be as favored as the Devils are is a little odd. So, you should take Detroit straight-up with the plus-money value.

Hurricanes vs Islanders

Fresh off a huge comeback win over the New Jersey Devils that gave them a two-point edge over the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division, the Carolina Hurricanes head across the Hudson River to take on the reeling New York Islanders, who have dropped four straight.

The Islanders lost 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in a fairly disappointing performance.

Semyon Varlamov should get the start for New York while Antti Raanta will go for Carolina with Frederik Andersen out due to injury. The Hurricanes are solid road favorites with how much New York has struggled as of late. Consider going with Carolina to win in regulation.

Oilers vs Blue Jackets

The Edmonton Oilers probably need one more win to really secure their spot as the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division and, with the Oilers on a four-game winning streak, they’re playing well enough to do it against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus is on a four-game skid and has lost to a bunch of non-contenders in the past week.

With how electric Edmonton’s offense has been — four or more goals in each of the last four games — and how sharp Mike Smith has been in the net, the Oilers are looking pretty scary. They’re huge road favorites on the BetUS sportsbook and are a good pick to cover the puckline.

Penguins vs Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday but will have a tougher matchup as the Pittsburgh Penguins come into town. Pittsburgh has won back-to-back laughers against the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings yet is still in must-win mode as the Penguins try to stay ahead of Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan.

With Tristan Jarry out week-to-week with a foot injury, acting backup Louis Domingue might get the start after Casey DeSmith played Saturday. That isn’t great news for Pittsburgh but the Penguins are still huge favorites even if Domingue starts. Parlay the Penguins to win in regulation with the over because there might be a lot of goals scored in this one.

Lightning vs Panthers

With their 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Florida Panthers won their 13th consecutive game, which is a truly remarkable feat in today’s NHL. No. 14 won’t be easy, though, as the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning are in town. Tampa Bay scored 14 goals in a pair of impressive blowout wins over Toronto and the Nashville Predators in the past few days.

Even though the Panthers have nothing left to play for other than pride, Florida is a slight home favorite. With Tampa Bay still needing to secure its playoff seeding, take the Lightning straight-up. Plus, Brian Elliott started last night for the Lightning so Andrei Vasilevskiy will be in net against Florida backup Spencer Knight.

Maple Leafs vs Capitals

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a little slide, having dropped back-to-back games to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. But, their playoff spot is wrapped up. Toronto’s opponent on Sunday, the Washington Capitals, have played great recently and need to keep winning to hang with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Metropolitan playoff spot.

Washington is a small home favorite in what is essentially a tossup. The Capitals are at a rest advantage, though, which is critical and the Maple Leafs might start rookie Erik Kallgren after Jack Campbell played Saturday. You should still take Toronto straight-up, however, because the Maple Leafs are the better team.

Avalanche vs Jets

Two scuffling teams match up as the Colorado Avalanche (losers of three straight) visit the Winnipeg Jets (losers of four straight). Colorado is in rest mode after clinching the top spot in the West so the Avalanche have no reason to push the envelope and risk suffering anymore injuries. Winnipeg, meanwhile, was just eliminated from playoff contention and is playing out the string.

This is a tough game to handicap but Colorado is a sizable road favorite. Of course, the Avalanche are a far superior team but without much urgency on their end, Winnipeg as a nearly 2-to-1 underdog is kind of enticing. Go with the Jets.

Bruins vs Canadiens

The Boston Bruins notched a huge win on Saturday, taking down the New York Rangers 3-1 behind another strong start in net from Linus Ullmark. But, if Boston is going to catch the Tampa Bay Lightning — or beat out the Washington Capitals for the top Wild-Card slot — the Bruins are going to need to get two points against the Montreal Canadiens, who have lost eight straight.

Montreal lost 6–4 to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and keeps giving up tons of goals, so Boston shouldn’t have much trouble. Go with Boston to cover the puckline as massive favorites on the NHL betting lines and consider parlaying it with the over.

Wild vs Predators

One more win would go a long way for the Nashville Predators as they try to lock in the No. 1 Wild-Card seed in the West. However, the Minnesota Wild are on a roll, having won four in a row as they look to stave off the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central. Nashville has been wildly inconsistent over the past few weeks and is at a rest disadvantage after losing 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Take Minnesota here on the moneyline. The Wild are slight favorites but they have a few built-in edges in this game and are the better team.

Blues vs Ducks

The St. Louis Blues are on an incredible run. They’ve won 13 of their last 15 games dating to the end of March yet, somehow, are only tied with the Minnesota Wild, who have a game in hand. St. Louis doesn’t control its own playoff fate yet but could move toward doing so by beating up on the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim has lost two straight and five of six overall.

St. Louis is understandably a big road favorite over the Ducks. The Blues should win this game easily so the Blues on the puckline is a smart pick.

Sharks vs Golden Knights

It’s essentially do-or-die time for the Vegas Golden Knights whose only realistic path to the playoffs now is through the Wild Card. They’re four points behind both the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars and have played the same amount of games (78) as Nashville and one less game than Dallas. It’s unlikely for Vegas to be able to pull off the comeback but it is certainly possible.

In order to do so, though, Vegas would have to beat the San Jose Sharks. San Jose has won two of three but has lost 11 of 13 overall. Vegas got a much-needed overtime win over the Washington Capitals in the Golden Knights’ last action.

Vegas has had a few off days to rest up, which should be a boost against the Sharks who played Saturday. The Golden Knights are enormous home favorites and are a good bet to cover the puckline in such a big game.

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