The Calgary Flames are coming off back-to-back losses and are in danger of dropping three. That would match their season-long losing streak, which the oddsmakers think is quite possible as the Flames are a road underdog at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
On paper, this is a matchup of the top two teams in the NHL and a possible Stanley Cup finals preview. However, the Lightning, who lead the East, are 12 points better than the Flames. They’re in a bit of a funk as they are just 6-5 in their last 11, so Calgary has an opening even though the Lightning are the better team.
Flames vs Lightning Betting Analysis
The Flames enter this contest with a 17-10-1 record away from home this season. However, Calgary has struggled on the road against teams with a winning record. The Flames are just 3-11 in their last 14 road games versus a team with a home winning record greater than .600. Calgary is also 5-2 in its last seven contests versus Eastern Conference opponents and 6-2 in their last eight games when playing on two days’ rest.
The Lightning are 11-3 in their last 14 games after scoring five goals or more in their previous game. They are 6-2 in their last eight versus the Pacific division and 7-3 in their last 10 overall against Western Conference opponents. Tampa Bay enters Tuesday night’s contest with a sparkling 21-5-2 record on home ice this season.
If Calgary is going to have a chance to win on the road in Tampa Bay, it will need an outstanding goaltending effort from David Rittich. Rittich has struggled over the last month of action, producing a 3.01 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage over that span. Rittich beat out Mike Smith for the starting job at the beginning of the season, so the Flames need to be able to lean on him now when it counts down the stretch. He’s allowed three goals or more in six of his last nine starts. However, his 1.92 GAA and .939 save percentage on the road are much better than the 3.33 GAA and .882 save percentage at home.
The Calgary offense certainly needs to start producing with a little more consistency. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have each been held to one point over their last three games. This team led the league in goals-per-game in January (4.45) but is just 14th in that category this month (3.00).
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay has certainly received some solid goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy all season. Vasilevskiy owns a 2.44 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage with four shutouts. That save percentage is third-best in the league. He will likely be back between the pipes for the Lightning on Tuesday night. Although he’s normally a reliable bet at home (Lightning have won 13 of his 19 home starts), he’s struggled of late. Tampa Bay has actually lost three of his last four home starts.
Meanwhile, Nikita Kucherov has led the way up front with a ridiculous 24 goals and 84 points this season, which is the best in the NHL. Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos have combined for 61 goals. Tampa Bay has the potential to score goals in bunches, so if Rittich is not up to the task then this game could be over in a hurry.
The Lightning might be 6-5 in their last 11 but a lot of the losses are explainable. A loss in overtime to the red-hot Blues, a loss in a shootout to a decent Knights team, a loss at Pittsburgh, a loss at home to Toronto and a loss on the road at Long Island is understandable. They should find a way to take care of the Flames on Tuesday.