Sun, Mar 21, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Florida Panthers (20-6-4, 2nd place in the Central) visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (22-6-2, 1st place in the Central) on Sunday, March 21, at 4 PM ET at the Amalie Arena.
The NHL offers up a marquee matchup Sunday afternoon with the Lightning and Panthers in Tampa Bay. These two teams are fighting it out in the Central Division and have been from the start of the season in January.
Tampa Bay leads the division with 46 points. Florida is hot on its heels with 44 points. The Carolina Hurricanes are not far behind in third place with 43 points. A win in regulation today would help the Panthers tie the Lightning atop the division standings.
A win in regulation for Tampa Bay would give them a four-point lead over Florida and just a tiny bit of breathing room.
Scheduled for a seven-game regular-season series, the Panthers lead 2-1 heading into this afternoon’s contest. The Panthers won game one 5-2, lost game two 6-1, and won game three 6-4.
Florida comes into this game fresh off a 2-0 shutout of the Nashville Predators and has won five of the last six games played. In the shutout, goalie Chris Driedger stopped 21 shots. The Panthers picked up goals from Anthony Duclair and Aleksander Barkov.
“Those games when the other goalie is putting on a show can get a little dicey,” Driedger said. “You have to make sure you’re sharp. I saw the pucks that came my way and it ended up working out.”
“It was one of those games where we looked like we’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink,” Florida coach Joel Quenneville said. “Whether it was a save or unable-to-score race, I don’t think we deviated from how we were going about our game.”
The Lightning enter today riding a three-game winning streak. They have recently knocked off the Dallas Stars 4-3 and the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 and 4-1 in a back-to-back.
In the 4-1 win over the Blackhawks, their most recent game, Andrei Vasilevskiy (20-3-1) stopped 30 shots for his 11th straight victory in the net. The 11 straight wins by a goaltender ties a franchise record (Louis Domingue from Nov. 29, 2018, to Feb. 19, 2019). The win streak by Vasilevskiy is the ninth-longest in NHL history.
The Lightning spread the scoring around to four different players: Steven Stamkos, Yanni Gourde, Anthony Cirelli, and Brayden Point.
The win, which came at home, improved Tampa Bay’s record at the Amalie Arena to 12-2-0.
“Vasy was incredible back there tonight, pretty much like he has been this entire year,’’ Cirelli said. “Every game he’s been there making those huge saves for us when we’ve needed them.”
The puck line is at -1.5 in favor of Tampa Bay heading into this afternoon’s game and the over-under is set at six total goals. With the way these teams have scored when facing each other, the safe bet might be taking the Over 6 goals if you are placing a wager on an NHL game today.