Saturday NHL Pick: Tampa Bay at Minnesota

The Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday, where they will take on the Minnesota Wild.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm central time. The Lightning are 4-1 on the season, giving them 8 points. Those 8 points put them in 4th place in the Atlantic division.  The Wild, on the other hand, are 3-2-2 on the season, meaning that they also have 8 points.

Tampa Bay’s last game was against a winless Red Wing team, and they stayed that way.  Brayden Point scored in the first period for the Lightning.  Then, Luke Glendening tied it for the Red Wings in the second period.  About nine minutes later, the great Steven Stamkos gave Tampa Bay a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.  Alex Killorn shot in an empty net goal to seal the win.

Minnesota’s last game was a win yesterday against Dallas.  There was no scoring for the first two periods. The Stars opened up the scoring when Jason Spezza got them out to a lead in period number 3.  That was all the Stars would get, however. Matt Dumba and Ryan Suter’s goals gave the Wild a lead, and Zach Parise added an empty net tally.   Tampa Bay is -140 in this game.

Tampa Bay Needing More Offense

Tampa Bay has found the back of the net 17 times this season, ranking 21st in the league.  In terms of their defense, they rank 2nd in the league, having only allowed 10 goals. While these stats may be skewed by the fact that they have only played in 5 games, they are still impressive.  They have capitalized on 25% of their power plays this season, ranking 12th in the league. Their penalty kill has been their most impressive stat this year, however. They have not given up a power play goal this season.

Minnesota Slow Out of the Gate

The Wild have scored 17 goals as well, tying them in those rankings with Tampa Bay.  They have given up 19 goals, ranking them 11th in the league in that category. They will look to improve on the power play, as they have found the back of the net on only 15% of those.

Goaltending Battle

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky has been impressive between the pipes for Tampa Bay.  He has given up only 1.48 goals per game this season, with a .954 save percentage.  For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk has given up 2.11 goals per game and has a .944 save percentage.

Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, and Tyler Johnson are tied for the scoring lead for Tampa Bay.  They each have 5 points on the season. Zach Parise leads the Wild with 9 points.  Each team has proved that they can score, but the Wild will need to shore up their defense to win this one.

Take the Wild as Underdogs

The Lightning, on paper, are better.  However, regardless of having won 4 out of 5 games, they have not played on the road this season.  I think that Minnesota can get the win at home against a team traveling for the first time.  Bet on the Minnesota Wild at +115.  
  • Bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning at -140

  • Bet on the Minnesota Wild at +115

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