The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes meet for the first time this season. These Eastern Conference rivals have been near-even with all three of their games being decided by one goal last season. The Hurricanes vs Lightning odds may still favor the Lightning, but they will have their hands full as they take on one of the NHL’s best road teams and potentially without their top defenseman: Victor Hedman.
Hurricanes are the Lightning’s Match
Few teams can consider themselves a peer to the Lightning. But the Hurricanes are one of those teams. Even after losing to the Lightning 4-1 in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Hurricanes have consistently played Tampa competitively.
Carolina is 4-4-2 in its last 10 games against Tampa Bay. The scoring differential is two goals and in fact, only one of these games was decided by more than two goals: The Hurricanes come into this affair as +125 underdogs and the Lightning are posting up at -140, with 6½ on the Over/Under
And the Hurricanes are still only getting better as a young team. Their three leading scorers are under the age of 25. Speaking of them, Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov are both on a tear this season. Necas has 13 points to lead the team while Svechnikov already has eight goals. Sebastian Aho, last season’s leading scorer, is still on a point-per-game pace with 10 points in nine games.
Carolina remains a dominant team on 5-on-5. The team leads the league in corsi for percentage and are third in expected goals for percentage. If the team can find a way to get its special teams going, Carolina will return to being an unstoppable force as it was last season.
Thus far, the newly acquired Brent Burns is paying dividends as a power-play (PP) quarterback. But the team is just firing at 17.1 percent with the man advantage. And on the penalty kill, Carolina’s 79.4 percent success rate is just 16th. These are far cries from the Canes’ top-five stats last season.
A lot of this has to do with some unluckiness. Carolina is shooting just 9.84 percent on the PP, which is 26th in the NHL. They are 24th on the PDO (0.964) as well. Knowing how talented and persistent the team is, it should only be a matter of time when they rectify these stats. For the meantime, they’ll be enticing underdogs per the Hurricanes vs Lightning odds.
The Man With Lightning in a Bottle
The Lightning are still going strong entering their 10th year under head coach Jon Cooper. Tampa Bay has gone 524-279-61 under the 55-year-old, who is also now the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. To say he is one of the most respected locker room leaders is an understatement as he knows just how to push his team’s buttons.
“We have to fight through it, you’ve got to man up,” Cooper said two weeks ago after the Lightning lost to the Flyers and went down 1-3-0 to start the season. “This group should close that game out, and we didn’t. That’s probably a little bit of a concern. We probably take things for granted with this team, just for the past decade, what’s gone on.”
Since his fiery callout of his team, Tampa Bay has gone 5-1-0 with three of these wins coming on the road. The Lightning have also scored four or more goals in four of their last five games. However, defensively, there is more work to be done. Tampa’s goal differential on average is just +0.10. Part of it is Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is not putting up the same lofty numbers as his perennial Vezina Trophy finalist form.
And part of it is Tampa getting outplayed or outworked on 5-on-5. The Lightning are just a middle-of-the-pack kind of team in corsi and scoring chance ratios. And yet, the Lightning remain decided favorites on the NHL betting lines.
This team is winning but is still vulnerable. Like the Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning next game, a lot of their strength comes from their resilience. They’ll find a way even if their stats say otherwise.Follow us on Twitter
Looking for more information about the NHL season? Here’s more!
- Islanders vs Hurricanes Matchup: Metro Division Clash in Raleigh on Friday
- NHL Central Division Preview: Who Has a Shot to Unseat the Defending Champs?
- Bruins vs Penguins Head to Head: Eastern Conference Foes Clash in Pittsburgh
- Ducks vs Sharks Betting Preview: Sharks Prey on Homesick Ducks
- Capitals vs Hurricanes Betting Preview: Metro Division Showdown on Monday Night