Lightning vs. Stars: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Lightning vs Stars NHL week 16
Tampa Bay vs. Dallas, Amalie Arena

The Tampa Bay Lightning have won five of their last six games as the race atop the Central Division tightens over the last week or so of the season. Tampa Bay is four points behind the division leaders with four games to go and two points behind Florida in second place, but the Lightning have two games in hand on the Panthers. The Dallas Stars visit Tampa on Wednesday night in need of a win having lost four straight games as they chase the final playoff spot in the division. The Stars are four points back with a game in hand and will play their last four games on the road, including a pair against the defending champions over the next three days.

Free Picks

It’s rare to find a player like Ondrej Palat who has sustained so much success this season against the same opponent. Palat has points in all six games against Dallas this season and he’s scored a goal in four of them, including the last two meetings between the teams. His 15 goals this season are only fourth most on the Lightning, which is why the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey posted +230 odds on him to score. However, this is a great matchup for Palat and he’s an important player for Tampa Bay to get rolling before the postseason. With the Lightning throwing maximum effort behind this seeding push, I expect Palat to rise to the challenge and score for a fifth time in seven games against the Stars this season.

ONDREJ PALAT SCORES GOAL

The addition of Tyler Seguin certainly gave the Stars a jump offensive in their last game against Florida. However, in their three games before then, Dallas scored one goal or fewer in all of them and was shut out twice. Meanwhile, the Lightning’s defense has come together in the last week, allowing one goal or fewer in three straight games, including consecutive shutouts in regulation. The hockey betting sites in New Jersey are offering +215 odds on Tampa Bay to continue shutting down the Stars offense Wednesday. I’m not bold enough to predict a shutout, but it doesn’t feel like the Stars have enough firepower to score more than once against the Lightning’s defense.

DALLAS STARS UNDER 1.5 GOALS

This might be a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final, but it doesn’t feel like that given how these two teams have performed this season. Tampa Bay has been admirable in their title defense and looked like one of the best teams in the league most of the season while Dallas has went through long periods of bad hockey to find themselves on the outside of the playoff chase with time running out. The Lightning have three multi-goal wins against Dallas this season and have outscored the Stars 8-0 in two games in Tampa this year. I’m riding with the NHL betting sites in New Jersey with their +165 odds on another multi-goal Tampa Bay win Wednesday night.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING -1.5 GOALS

Best Odds

Tampa Bay Dallas
888Sport
-157 +128
FanDuel
-168 +142
BetMGM
-160 +135

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the seventh matchup of the season between Tampa Bay and Dallas with the Lightning winning five of the first six games between the two teams.

Stats

  • Tampa Bay’s offensive production has taken a major hit over the last three weeks despite the Lightning’s overall success in winning games. The Lightning scored 3.45 goals per game in their first 40 contests this year, but that production has slowed down to just 2.83 goals per game over the last 12 outings. Tampa Bay has scored four goals or more just twice in that span, after doing so 20 times in their first 40 games.
  • The Stars are on the road for the remainder of the season, and Dallas hasn’t had the easiest of times away from home this year. Dallas has lost seven of its last nine road contests, and one of those wins required 52 shots in order to secure an overtime victory. The Stars have just a .458 winning percentage in road games and are facing Tampa Bay, which is 20-6-0 at home this season for a .769 winning percentage.
  • Blake Coleman is playing his best hockey of the season at the right time for the Lightning. In his last six games, he’s scored five goals and had two assists, with his goals spanning four of the six games. He’s averaging roughly four shots per game during this stretch as well, adding important secondary scoring for the Lightning as they hope for the return of their top-two scorers – Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov – for the postseason in the coming weeks.
  • Jason Robertson has thrust himself into the conversation for the Calder Trophy this season with 16 goals and 42 points for the Stars as a rookie. He ranks second on the team in both categories, and we’ve seen how comfortable he has become since the end of March. He’s been a point-per-game player over the last 25 games with 12 goals and 14 assists with eight of those goals coming in the last 15 games since April 8.

Our Prediction for Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Tampa Bay Lightning to win

Just a week ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning easily handled the Dallas Stars in Tampa, and now the two teams meet again in Florida. Tampa Bay has won five of its last six games entering Wednesday’s contest while Dallas has lost four straight heading into the final two games this season with Tampa Bay. The Stars might be desperate to make the playoffs, but the Lightning are trying to secure the division crown or at the very least home ice against their in-state rivals. The desperation from a great team outweighs the desperation from a mediocre one, and the Lightning take care of business and continue their surge into the postseason.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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