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Tue 17/02/2015 - 19:10 EST

Lightning-Ducks Could Be Stanley Cup Finals Preview

The marquee matchup on Wednesday's NHL schedule is clearly Tampa Bay at Anaheim as the Lightning have the second-most points in the Eastern Conference with 76 while the Ducks are No. 2 in the West with 77 points. Anaheim is a -150 favorite on Sportsbook.ag with a total of 5.5 goals. On the  goal line at +1.5, the Lightning are -225.

Tampa Bay is on a five-game West Coast trip. The Bolts started it with a 5-2 win in San Jose on Sunday but then fell 3-2 at the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. Jordan Nolan scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period for the Kings to break a 1-1 tie. The Lightning got a late goal from Tyler Johnson with 36 seconds left to cut it to 3-2. Jonathan Quick stopped 21 shots in his fifth consecutive victory. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the Lightning.

The Lightning were 10-1-2 when tied after two periods prior to the L.A. game but couldn’t prevail like they had all season with the score tied 1-1 going into the third against the Kings, who had a day of rest between beating Washington at home and playing the Bolts.

“They clamped down. They took the lead,” Lightning forward Brian Boyle said. “You’ve got pucks in your end, and it seemed like we were kind of one and done or in and out, trying to use five guys and do what we were doing earlier getting to the net. It kind of wasn’t there.”

In the third period, Tampa Bay produced only two shots on goal until Johnson’s score with 37 seconds to go and the Lightning net empty.

Ben Bishop is expected to return to the Lightning's net. Bishop has been pulled twice in his last four starts, but is 3-0-1 with a 1.32 GAA all-time against the Ducks.

Anaheim has lost four of five. It comes off a 5-3 home defeat to Washington on Sunday. Andrew Cogliano had two goals and Corey Perry netted his team-high 24th for the two-time defending Pacific Division champion Ducks, who lost left winger Matt Beleskey and defenseman Sami Vatanen in the first period due to undisclosed injuries.

Beleskey is out 2-4 weeks with an upper-body injury, and Vatanen is out 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury. The 26-year-old Beleskey has a career-high 21 goals in 56 games with the Ducks this season, including an NHL-best eight game-winning goals. The 23-year-old Vatanen has 12 goals and 22 assists in 57 games this season. His 34 points lead all Ducks defensemen and rank him fourth on the team overall.

Anaheim visited Tampa Bay on Feb. 8 and lost 5-3. Brian Boyle scored the first of his two goals during Tampa Bay's three-goal first period. Valtteri Filppula, Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan also scored for the Lightning. Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf scored his 200th NHL goal and added an assist. Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen left midway through the third period when the net was dislodged from behind and landed on him.

The Ducks are +900 to win the Stanley Cup at Sportsbook.ag and the Lightning +1500.

Key betting trends: Home team is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings. Lightning are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings in Anaheim. Ducks are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference. Ducks are 1-5 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record. Ducks are 0-4 in their last 4 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.

Category : News

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