Courtesy of OddsShark (@OddsShark)
The Winnipeg Jets are on a two-game win streak, but will they will be heavy moneyline underdogs against the NHL’s top team when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
The Jets are +155 road underdogs (wager $100 to win $155) on the NHL odds for Tuesday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the Lightning coming back at -190 (wager $190 to win $100) and a total of 7.0 goals. It is the first time all season the Jets have been a moneyline underdog of more than +150, although they are 8-3 in their last 11 away games against Atlantic Division teams.
The Lighting and NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov, however, are 12-3 in their last 15 home games against Central Division teams.
In the two division leaders’ only other matchup on December 13, the Jets won 5-4 in overtime on home ice as a slight -105 underdog. Nikolaj Ehlers scored two goals in that game, including the late third-period game-tying goal, and Mark Scheifele had the overtime goal to cap a game where both teams had more than 40 shots on goal.
Overall, the matchup has tilted slightly toward Tampa Bay, with the Jets going 4-5 in the last nine games since the 2014-15 season. That matchup in December was the fifth in the teams’ last seven games to finish OVER, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
As sometimes happens around the three-quarters point of the NHL’s 82-game slog, the Jets had a slump in February. But they have scored 10 goals over the course of two wins over likely playoff-bound teams, with Blake Wheeler scoring four goals and Sami Niku chipping in during a 5-2 road win on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Lightning beat the lowly Ottawa Senators 5-1 in their most recent outing last Saturday, but the gap that league-leading Tampa Bay has over everyone else in the standings means they are in a position where playing healthy takes precedence over playing at their peak.
The Jets have the NHL’s sixth-best offense at 3.4 goals per game, in the range with Tampa Bay’s 3.8. They are, of course, without two essential defensemen with Dustin Byfuglien (ankle) and Josh Morrissey (upper body) both injured, but the best defense is a good offense, especially against Tampa Bay.
After Tuesday’s game, the Jets will have two stops left on a four-game eastern swing. The Jets are one point ahead of the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division, but have three games in hand. The Lightning are 15 points ahead of everyone else in the overall standings as they try to wrap up the Presidents’ Trophy.