The Pittsburgh Penguins (33-14-8) and Tampa Bay Lightning (35-11-6) clash in a battle of two of the top clubs in the Eastern Conference. The Pens and Bolts meet Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Below, we look at the Penguins vs. Lightning odds and lines and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
Pittsburgh lost three straight games from Feb. 17-24, but the Penguins have bounced back with two straight wins since. They beat the Rangers at home and are now playing the middle contest of a three-game road trip that opened with a 3-2 win at Columbus. The Pens enter this game off a three-game layoff.
The Lightning have not lost since Feb. 10. They’ve won five in a row since, and have scored an average of 4.60 goals along the way. Tampa Bay last played Tuesday at home, earning a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Penguins at Lightning odds, spread and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 7 a.m. ET.
Money line: Penguins +140 (bet $100 to win $140) | Lightning -175 (bet $175 to win $100)
Against the spread (ATS): Penguins +1.5 (-180) | Lightning -1.5 (+140)
Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: -102 | U: -122)
Penguins at Lightning projected goalies
Tristan Jarry (26-11-6, 2.33 GAA, .921 SV%) vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy (29-8-4, 2.27 GAA, .921 SV%)
Jarry struggled during the Penguins losing streak, but he stopped 27-of-27 in his last start (Feb. 26 vs. the Rangers). The 26-year-old netminder has a history of second-half fades, and his February (3.20 GAA, .901 SV%) makes that a legitimate concern as the Pens head into March.
Vasilevskiy is seeking his 30th win of the season, and that would make for five seasons in a row hitting that figure. The 27-year-old owns a .927 SV% over his last two starts. At home, he has yielded more than 2 goals in a game just once since Jan. 11.
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Penguins at Lightning odds, lines, picks and predictions
Lightning 4, Penguins 2
A Pittsburgh penalty-killing unit that owns a robust 85.8% mark on the season (third NHL) has shown a few leaks of late. And a normally average Tampa Bay power play has scored in three straight games overall and three straight at Amalie Arena.
The Bolts dominated the first meeting between these two, a 5-1 Tampa Bay victory Oct. 21. And the Lightning are 5-1 over their last six games against the Pens.
BACK TAMPA BAY (-175).
Against the spread
Five of Tampa’s last seven wins at home have been by multi-goal margins. Some bettors may want to tack a LIGHTNING -1.5 (+140) rider onto the above ML play.
With the offensive firepower spilling over the boards on both sides, the Over seems like a natural. But both teams can defend and have strong goaltending. A PASS would be best.
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