Free NHL Hockey Prediction: Lightning vs Canucks Odds
Looking for Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Vancouver Canucks free hockey plays & NHL odds? NHL betting sees the Lightning taking on the Canucks on Friday December 16th at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. Cappers Picks provides complimentary expert handicapping picks on all NHL Hockey matchups all season long so stay tuned for more FREE daily NHL hockey predictions.
15-13-2 (8-8-1 V) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Vancouver Canucks 12-16-2 (8-5-1 H)
Date: Friday December 16th
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.
NHL Hockey Moneyline Odds: OFF
NHL Hockey Puck Line Odds: OFF
NHL Betting Total: OFF
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Tampa’s offense continues to be a forceful one this season, currently sitting in 9th overall in goals per game at 2.8 on average. Superstar, Steven Stamkos, continues to be sidelined with a knee injury and won’t return until the spring.
In his absence, Nikita Kucherov has continued his dominance on the score sheet, and veteran Valtteri Filppula has stepped up his production in effort to offset the loss.
Vancouver is feeling the wrath of poor management and drafting in recent years, and now sit near the basement of the league.
The Canucks may be best served by trading away veteran assets this year and going into full-blown rebuild mode, but whether ownership will accept that fate is another question.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov is leading the Lighting in points, with 30 in his 28 games played.
He’s built off of his 2015-16 season that saw him net 30 goals and 66 points, to now sit over a point per game through his first 30 this year.
Tampa Bay was without him on Wednesday against the Calgary Flames due to a undisclosed day-to-day injury, though Tampa was still able to produce six goals in his absence.
Losing Stamkos certainly hurts the total offensive output in Tampa, but the depth should be able to step-in and help offset the loss. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat will look to recapture the magic they had in 2014-15, where Johnson has 72 points and Palat 63. They currently sit at 16 and 15 respectively, although the two have totaled 18 goals total.
Victor Hedman leads their back-end with 22 points, which is actually good for second on the team behind Kucherov.
The Swedish defender is logging big minutes for the Bolts at an average of 24:57 per game, over two minutes more than their next highest total. Hedman has developed into one of the league’s best defenseman since being selected 2nd overall in 2009.
While Ben Bishop still has the bulk of the starts for the Lightning, the proverbial passing of the torch has already started to fellow netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The young Russian netminder actually bests Bishop’s number on the year, having a 2.44 GAA and a .925 SV%. Bishop, meanwhile, holds a 2.87 GAA along with a .905 SV% in his 20 games, compared to Vasilevskiy’s 12 appearances.
There isn’t a whole lot to be excited about in Vancouver. The recent high draft picks, save for Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser, remain underwhelming or traded away.
The Canucks dealt Jared McCann to the Panthers, along with 2nd and 4th round draft picks, for defenseman Erik Gudbranson in the off-season.
Jake Virtanen is between the 4th line and the minors, which is not ideal for a 6th overall pick who was selected just ahead of William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers, both of whom are producing at a solid rate.
Bo Horvat has been one of the picks who have panned out well for the Canucks, solidifying the second line center role. His offensive upside may be limited to that slot in the lineup, but Horvat is a very solid two-way player who has all the making to be the next team captain.
On the year, Horvat has eight goals and 17 points in 30 games, sitting third in team scoring behind the Sedin twins.
Neither of the Canucks’ goaltenders has had a great year while splitting starts. Ryan Miller has the best SV% at .909 but a 2.89 GAA, where Jacob Markstrom has a 2.74 GAA but a .903 SV%.
If there is any value to trading Miller, the Canucks’ management needs to seriously consider doing so and getting some value for him.
Help is on the way in the coming years, with goalie of the future, Thatcher Demko, considered one of the best prospects in net and is now in his first professional season with Utica after completing his college career.
NHL Hockey Handicapping Trends
- Vancouver sits in 3rd last in the league in points with 26 on the year
- Even without Stamkos in the lineup currently, Tampa Bay sits 9th overall in goals per game at 2.8. li>
- Tampa Bay is 8-8-1 on the road and Vancouver is 6-5-2 at home
Free Tampa Bay Lightning vs Vancouver Canucks NHL Hockey Prediction
I like Tampa here, and pretty much any opponent that faces Vancouver this season. The Canucks have a -21 total goal differential on the season, which is the third worst mark in the league and justifies their overall place in the standings.
4* Free NHL Betting Pick: Tampa Bay Moneyline
Even without Stamkos, Tampa should have no problem finding the back of the net in Vancouver.
Vancouver is coming off of a game where they allowed eight goals to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes, and Tampa’s offense enters on the heels of a six goal effort in Cow Town.
NHL Free Score Prediction: Tampa Bay 4 – Vancouver 1
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