NHL Network will host Saturdays matchup between the Nashville Predators and the Tampa Bay Lightning with the puck set to drop at 7:07 p.m. ET. The game will take place at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Bally Sports South will have the local Predators broadcast and Bally Sports Florida will handle the local Lightning broadcast. This is a rematch of their NHL Stadium Series game from February that the Lightning won 3-2 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Nashville (44-28-5) holds the first wild card position in the Western Conference with five games to play. The Predators have the hardest closing schedule of any team in the NHL, starting with the Lightning and following with the playoff-bound Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche before finishing with the hapless Arizona Coyotes. Nashville is in a favorable spot. The Predators are two points ahead of the Dallas Stars and four points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights and have a game in hand. A win would not clinch anything for the Predators, but it would trim the magic number. Defenseman Roman Josi (20 G, 69 A) is an assist away from becoming the first defenseman with a 20-70 season since Ray Bourque did it for the Boston Bruins in 1993-94.
Tampa Bay (47-22-8) has already clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine seasons. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champs are holding on to third place in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of the Boston Bruins, with five games to play. The Lightning have won three of four, but their 8-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday was a necessary breakout performance. Team captain Steven Stamkos is on a hot streak with 10 points (2 G, 8 A) over the past four games.
Predators vs. Lightning
Game odds on DraftKings Sportsbook, picks & predictions
Puck line:+1.5 (-180), -1.5 (+155)
Total: Over 6.5 (-105), Under 6.5 (-115)
Moneyline odds: Predators (+135), Lightning (-155)
Best bet: Lightning (-155)
The Lightning should be feeling good after their blowout win over the Maple Leafs. They showed perfect structure on both ends of the ice and had a ton of early scoring opportunities that eventually led to a barrage of goals. The Predators need points — a win would be great, but getting one point in an overtime/shootout loss is fine as well. Nashville will try to take advantage of facing Lightning backup goalie Brian Elliott tonight, but I expect Tampa Bay to continue to build on their defensive effort from Thursday and win a close one.
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