In any sport where you have a long regular season, it’s never really a good idea to get too carried away based on the early results. History has clearly shown us that surprise teams are going to come charging out of the gate, while some preseason favorites will find themselves in an early hole. Hockey is definitely one of those sports, as the 82-game schedule is an absolute grind. What we always tend to see here is that things have a way of evening out over the course of the season. Last year was a perfect example, as the St. Louis Blues went from looking like one of the worst teams in the league to Stanley Cup champions in just a matter of a few months. We have seen some of the preseason favorites come stumbling out the gate through the first couple of weeks, with the Tampa Bay Lightning very much at the top of that list. They will be looking to get things turned around starting on Tuesday night when they head into Montreal to face the Canadiens. The Lightning are favored by 1 ½, with the O/U set at 6 ½.
When: Tuesday, October 15 at 7 PM EST
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal
NHL Odds: Get the latest odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning ended last season with the best record in the NHL, and while they suffered an early exit in the playoffs, the belief was that they would be very strong again this year. As we mentioned earlier, it’s altogether too soon to start passing judgment on any team, but you do have to say that the Lightning have been disappointing in the early going. Through the opening 5 games of the season, they have accumulated just 5 points, going 2-2-1. Tampa has been in good scoring form, managing 20 goals through those first 5 games, but they have surrendered 17, which is more than a little concerning. Overall, the Lightning is now 2-7 in their last 9 games, but the good news is that they have won 5 of their last 6 meetings with Montreal.
Why bet on the Montreal Canadiens
After having played the same number of games as the Lightning, the Montreal Canadiens are 2-1-2, which puts them 1 point better off than their divisional foe. They have the same issues as Tampa, though, in that they are scoring goals but being a little too sloppy in the defensive end. Montreal has scored 21 goals through their opening 5 games, but they have also surrendered 21, which is a good part of the reason why the O/U for this game is on the higher end of the scale. While they have not had a ton of joy against the Lightning, Montreal is still 6-1 SU in their last 7 games on home ice. On another positive note, they are 4-1 ATS through the first 5 games this season.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Given how things have gone early on, I think we can expect to see some offensive fireworks in this one. These two teams are a combined 8-1-1 O/U this season, so the OVER looks like the best bet here. I also like the Canadiens to cover.
Tampa Bay Lightning 5 Montreal Canadiens 4