Lightning at Flyers Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/5/2013
Coming into the season the Tampa Bay Lightning were a team I really liked — an underappreciated team that has a chance to be a real contender. Through their first eight games they haven’t disappointed. Their 12 points are among the league leaders, and they are already establishing strong control in the Southeast Division. Most impressively, their 39 goals scored is eight more than any other team, and their +18 goal differential is the best in the sport as well. Last year they could score reasonably well, but they were even easier to score on. This year they have made real progress, and that makes them very dangerous.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, has been a disappointment. At 3-6 through nine games, they sit last in the Atlantic Division and second last in the entire conference. Their offense is impotent, and they can’t seem to find their rhythm with the puck or without it.
Lightning at Flyers Betting storylines
Though the Lightning have clearly been the better team so far, the schedules for both teams tell a slightly different story — or at least offer some excuses or explanations. Philadelphia has played six of their nine games on the road. They have just one road win, but they have been a more solid 2-1 at home. Unfortunately, after three more at home they go on the road for six in a row, so the pressure to get back on track will be intense before they head out. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has played six of eight at home. They have won five of those six, including four of five over their recent season long home stretch, so they are taking advantage of early circumstances. Their road games have been at the Islanders and Hurricanes, so the team faces their biggest challenge yet, and need to prove that they aren’t afraid of leaving Florida.
Both teams have suffered recent injuries that could be significant, but the impact is likely to be more for the Flyers. Vincent Lecavalier took a shot from a teammate off his foot on Saturday, and has a bruised bone. He’s not certain to play, but it seems more likely that he will. The Flyers aren’t that lucky, though. Wayne Simmonds took an elbow to the head on Feb. 1 and is out of action with a concussion. He is growing into himself offensively and is a major character contributor, so he will be missed — and is the kind of player that the team can’t really afford to be without given how they are playing. It also means that a rookie — Tye McGinn — will likely be taking Simmonds place on the top line. He played extremely well on Saturday in that role, but a rookie without the benefit of a preseason is hard to trust early in the season.
These teams have already met once in this young season. Tampa rolled to a 5-1 win at home. In that game the Flyers learned the same thing that most teams learn — if you can’t contain Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis you aren’t going to beat this team. Stamkos had a goal and an assist, and St. Louis exploded for assists on four of the five goals. Philly has never done particularly well against Stamkos, the top pure offensive talent in the league — he has 18 points in 17 games against the Flyers. St. Louis has been even more of a challenge, with 12 goals and 52 points in 35 games. With both players in top form this year it’s hard to feel super positive about the Flyers. Philadelphia has a clear goal here, though. When the Lightning score four or more goals they win, but when they have been held to fewer than that they have lost both games.
Lightning at Flyers Odds and Betting Trends
The “over” has gone 3-0-1 in the last four meetings between the teams. Tampa Bay has won four of the last five meetings. The home team has also won four of five. Tampa Bay has won their last four games on two days rest.
Lightning at Flyers Picks and Betting Predictions
Tampa Bay is coming off a loss and on the road, but they are clearly the better team at this point and are easy to like. Philadelphia is struggling to score, and isn’t great at stopping scoring, either. Tampa Bay handled them easily last time, and should win again now even if it is a tougher test. Taking the Lightning at even money or better is very attractive right now.
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