The Tampa Bay Lightning begin the 2021-22 NHL season with one goal in mind -- become the sixth team in history to win at least three consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Tampa Bay is just the second team to capture back-to-back titles since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings and hopes to be the first to win three straight since the New York Islanders collected four in a row from 1980-83. The Lightning begin the quest Tuesday as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2021-22 NHL season opener. Pittsburgh captured back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 but has won just one postseason series since.
The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. ET at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay is the -250 favorite (risk $250 to win $100) on the money line in the latest Lightning vs. Penguins odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while Pittsburgh is the +205 underdog. The over-under is set at 5.5 goals. Before locking in any Penguins vs. Lightning picks or any other NHL predictions, you need to see what Sportsline's No. 1 NHL expert Matt Severance has to say.
Severance is a well-connected writer and handicapper who has worked in the industry since 2005. He dominated the NHL last season by going a whopping 158-104 on money-line NHL picks, returning over $1,400 for the $100 bettor.
Now, Severance has set his sights on Lightning vs. Penguins and just revealed his expert picks for the NHL season opener. You can head to SportsLine now to see his NHL picks and analysis. Here are several NHL betting lines and trends for Penguins vs. Lightning:
- Lightning vs. Penguins money line: Tampa Bay -250, Pittsburgh +205
- Lightning vs. Penguins over-under: 5.5 goals
- Lightning vs. Penguins puck line: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+110)
- TB: The Lightning are 51-19 in their last 70 home games
- PIT: The Penguins are 0-5 in their last five contests at Tampa Bay
Why the Lightning can win
Scoring should not be a problem for Tampa Bay as it led the NHL in goals each of the last two full 82-game seasons, recording 296 in 2017-18 and a franchise-record 325 the following campaign. The club will regain the services of Nikita Kucherov, who missed the entire 56-game regular season in 2020-21 due to hip surgery after leading the Lightning in goals three of the previous four campaigns. The 28-year-old Russian has netted at least 30 tallies in each of his last five seasons and won the Art Ross Trophy after amassing a franchise-record 128 points in 2018-19.
Brayden Point led the Lightning in Kucherov's absence last season with 23 goals and 48 points. It marked the fourth consecutive campaign with at least that amount of tallies for the 25-year-old center, who netted a career-high 41 during the last full 82-game season in 2018-19. Just 34 points shy of 900 for his career, captain Steven Stamkos failed to reach the 20-goal mark in 2020-21 for only the second time in his 13 NHL seasons as he produced 17 while missing 14 games due to injury.
Why the Penguins can win
Pittsburgh will be relying heavily on its defense and goaltending with top offensive players Sidney Crosby (wrist), Evgeni Malkin (knee) and Jake Guentzel (COVID) all sidelined. Veteran Kris Letang is the leader on the blue line and also can contribute offensively, as he was third on the team with 45 points last season. A six-time All-Star, the 34-year-old is the Penguins' all-time leader among defenseman in goals (134), assists (448) and points.
Acquired from Los Angeles in April, Jeff Carter will be expected to produce in the absence of Crosby and Malkin. The 36-year-old center, who registered his first career four-goal performance on May 6 against Buffalo, has eclipsed the 20-goal plateau 11 times. Right wing Bryan Rust finished just two goals behind team leader Crosby last season with 22, marking the second straight campaign the 29-year-old scored 20 or more.
How to make Lightning vs. Penguins picks
Severance is leaning under on total goals scored. He's also found an X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line. You can see his NHL picks and predictions only on SportsLine.
So who wins Lightning vs. Penguins? And what X-factor makes one side of the money line a huge value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Penguins vs. Lightning money line you need to jump on Tuesday, all from the expert who crushed his NHL money-line picks in 2020-21, and find out.