Tampa Bay Lightning - Nashville Predators predictions and free betting tips [10/10/2023]
As the start of the 2023-24 NHL season approaches, both Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning are set to face-off on ice. The Predators are looking to restore their footing after last season's 42-32-8 record and a fifth-place finish in the Central Division, which didn't give them a playoff berth. On the other hand, the Lightning, with a 46-30-6 record, made it to the playoffs but are beginning this season without their main goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy due to injury. Still, my money is on the Lightning.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning, thanks to their potent attack, managed to break into last season's playoffs, scoring an average of 3.41 goals per game. Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov were the main threats to their competition. However, the departure of Alex Killorn, who moved to the Anaheim Ducks, calls into question the team's ability to maintain last year's attack level. Stamkos, Point, and Kucherov demonstrated exceptional efficiency, scoring 115 goals and making 177 assists, leading the first two lines, while other attacking players also made significant contributions. Brandon Hagel, Nick Paul, and Anthony Cirelli collectively tossed 58 pucks and made 67 assists. Defenders Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev also contributed, scoring 19 goals and making 94 assistances from the defensive position.
The focus is on continuing the effective attack, but potential issues in defence, which allowed 3.07 goals per game last season, might complicate the situation for Tampa. The defences of Lightning are commanded by seasoned Hedman and Sergachev, but the squad has depth issues and questions about the goalie line due to Vasilevskiy's injury. Jonas Johansson, who will replace Vasilevskiy, does not boast high statistics. There is hope that Calvin de Haan, who joined the team in the off-season, will strengthen the defensive positions.
Last season, the Predators failed to make it to the playoffs due to a weak attack, scoring only 2.72 goals per game. Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, and Tomas Novak made significant contributions, but new forces are needed for better results. In the off-season, the team signed Ryan O'Reilly and Gustav Nyquist in hopes of enhancing attacking potential. Roman Josi had 18 goals and 41 assists while Filip Forsberg and Tomas Novak put in their efforts, adding 36 goals and 49 assists, but overall the attack struggled. The team's defence, led by Roman Josi and Ryan McDonagh, was commendable last season, allowing only 2.88 goals per game. Goalie Saros made excellent plays, and his save percentage of .919 was one of the top stats of the season.
Prediction for the Tampa Bay Lightning - Nashville Predators match
The upcoming match promises to be interesting, considering Predators' ambition to improve their standings and Lightning's desire to maintain competitiveness despite the absence of their main goalie. The Lightning will likely try to control the game from the get-go, relying on their attacking lines. However, the Predators, with their improved roster, could pull a surprise. With Tampa's home advantage, expect them to win this meeting, I don't think Nashville can exploit the opponent's weaknesses and create an upset in the first game of the season.