NHL Best Bets: Expect Lightning to Strike Back Following Loss

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Eleven games of NHL action await hockey fans on Tuesday night. The Golden Knights hit the road for the first time in 2020, as they start an eight-game road trip in Buffalo. Also on tap is a battle north of the border between the Canucks and Jets, and a matchup of two of the Central Division’s best as the Avalanche host the Stars.

There’s plenty to wager on, but let’s take a closer look at two games in particular. Here are my two best bets for Tuesday:

Los Angeles Kings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Lightning -1.5 (-120)

The Lightning finally came back down to earth with a 3-1 loss to the Devils on Sunday. Before that game, which was the second game of a road back-to-back mind you, Tampa Bay was riding a 10-game winning streak with the majority of those victories by multiple goals. I expect the Lightning to get right back on the winning track Tuesday night.

No team in the NHL scores more goals per game at home than Tampa Bay. The Lightning are averaging a whopping 4.13 goals per home game. The are the only team in the NHL above the four-goal mark. Conversely, the Kings rank in the bottom half of the NHL in road goals allowed per game at 3.40.

Since the New Year, Los Angeles has lost four of its last five games, three by two goals or more. The Kings were shut out in Carolina on Saturday night in the second game of their five-game road trip.

The power play could prove to be the difference in this one. Tampa Bay ranks No. 2 in the NHL with the man-advantage, clicking at a 27.8% rate overall and scoring a league-best 36.6% of the time at home. The Kings are tied for the fourth-worst penalty killing unit in the league, killing off just 75% of opponents’ power plays (a number equaled on the road).

Tampa Bay has the offensive, defensive, goaltending and special teams advantage in this matchup. Expect a multi-goal victory and perhaps the start of a new long winning streak for the Lightning.

Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche: Under 5.5 goals (-115)

We’ve got a blueprint for how this game will go already this season. This is the fourth time the Stars and Avalanche met, and the two teams have never combined for more than five goals in a game. Dallas has beaten Colorado in all three matchups with final scores of 2-1, 4-1 and 3-2 (in a shootout).

The Stars are expected to roll out goaltender Ben Bishop on Tuesday. He’s allowed four total goals over his last three starts and saved 36 of 37 shots against the Avalanche back on November 5. Colorado is expected to start Philipp Grubauer, who was in net for all three losses against the Stars this season. He did allow four goals on 38 shots in the aforementioned Nov. 5 game, but allowed a combined four goals on 69 shots in the other two contests.

Dallas allows the fifth-fewest goals per game on the road this season and Colorado’s offense isn’t looking like its usual self over the last three games. That’s a recipe for another five-goal game between these two divisional foes.

Season Record: 21-20-1 (-0.23 units)