The Tampa Bay Lightning are early favourites to go on and win the 2018/19 Stanley Cup – and with good reason. Early leaders in the Atlantic Division, the Lightning have one of the strongest rosters in the National Hockey League and punters will be wary of a convincing victory for the hosts here.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators have struggled defensively this year; conceding an NHL-high 67 goals through 16 regular season games. If the Canadian side intend on challenging for a playoff berth, they need to tighten things up at the back. Unfortunately for Ottawa, that is going to be difficult against this Lightning offensive unit.
Tampa Bay have a solid enough record over Ottawa but it is the Lightning’s form on home ice this year that raises a few eyebrows. The Atlantic Division leaders have been supreme in front of their adoring fans and the Senators will need plenty of luck to come away with a positive result this weekend.
Expect Goals – And Expect Lots Of Them
The league’s best offense goes up against the league’s worst defence here and that can only mean one thing: goals are a certainty. Tampa Bay’s main forwards will be licking their lips at the prospect of going up against this leaky Senators defensive unit and this one could get ugly for the visitors.
However, we shouldn’t forget about Ottawa’s prowess at the other end of the ice. With 55 goals in their 16 games, the Senators have shown their capabilities on offense too and that is another indicator that this should be an absolute cracker. It could be one of the games of the season so far…
You won’t find too many punters backing against the Lightning though – most NHL regulars will have this one down as a win for Tampa Bay in their picks this weekend. For neutrals, an enjoyable and exciting game looks very likely indeed; anything less than six goals would be a real disappointment given their respective records so far in 2018/19.
Lightning Are Contenders, Senators Are Dark Horses?
In terms of the Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay are built for a serious push. Blessed with quality in every single area of the ice, the Lightning will take some stopping in their pursuit of glory – especially with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov on top form. The two have combined for 37 points already this season and the Senators will be focused on stopping both men.
Meanwhile, Ottawa have potential but they are still one or two years away. Capable of going far into the playoffs, the Senators have built up an organised unit. They are never going to be a Tampa Bay-mould but Ottawa are improving and writing the Senators off at this stage of the campaign would be unwise. Watch this space, they could be one of the outsiders to watch in the playoffs.
Goals, goals, goals – that will be the order of the day. Fans will be looking forward to this one; it should be a fantastic game. The added bonus of this being a divisional clash will only add to the drama and excitement, this should be a great spectacle.
Punters may not find great value on a Tampa Bay win outright but that should be expected these days. Instead, opting for over 6.5 goals on the total line may be the way to go. If you are feeling brave, back the Senators by all means but the omens point towards a tough night for Ottawa.
TIP: Over 6.5 goals
CORRECT SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 Ottawa Senators