Lightning vs Blackhawks Picks and Predictions for March 4

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Updated: March 4, 2021

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been lights-out, recording three straight shutouts and stopping the last 73 shots he has seen.

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning bring their five-game winning streak to the Windy City on Thursday to take on a well-rested Chicago Blackhawks team that has won three of its last four.

Tampa is in mid-season form and has posted shutouts in three of its last four games while outscoring its opponents 17-3 over the five-game winning streak.

Oddsmakers have the visiting team as a heavy favorite, with the total opening at 5.5.

Here are our free picks and predictions for Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks for Thursday, March 4 (8:00 p.m. EST).

Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks betting preview

Injuries

Lightning: None.
Blackhawks: Dylan Strome F (Questionable), Andrew Shaw F (Out), Brent Seabrook D (Out), Jonathan Toews F (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Lightning are 10-1 SU in the last 11 meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Lightning vs. Blackhawks.

The line opened at Tampa -212, with the total at 5.5. Early action favored Chicago and the Under. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Puck line pick

The Bolts and Hawks will face each other for the third time this year, with the Lightning winning both games at home by a combined score of 10-3. Tampa led both games by three goals at the 30-minute mark, but both those games were against Chicago backup goalies in Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia. 

Likely Chicago starter Kevin Lankinen has helped save the Blackhawks’ season, but the rookie goalie has given up 17 goals in his last four games, not including games against the lowly Red Wings.

The Bolts may only need a couple of goals as the Lightning have been almost impossible to score against since February 22.

Over their last five games, the Lightning have played some of the stingiest hockey the league has seen this year — allowing just three goals over their last 300 minutes of hockey. The goaltending has been otherworldly considering the club is averaging 2.5 expected goals against per game over that stretch.

No. 1 goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is having an outstanding follow-up-season to his 2020 Vezina win. The Russian netminder has recorded three straight shutouts and has stopped the last 73 shots he has seen. There is nobody better in the league right now than Vasi. 

Chicago sits fourth in the Central Division and is scoring 3.57 goals per game since February 7, but over that stretch, the Blackhawks have played nine of their 10 games against sub-500 teams. Tampa is a different beast and has already easily walked away with a pair of wins in as many tries against the Blackhawks this year. Facing a Blackhawks PK that is killing penalties at just 37 percent over the last three weeks is also a massive advantage for the visiting team.

With not much meat on the bone at a -200 ML, we’re going to have to take the visiting team on the puckline (-1.5) which it has covered in each of its last 11 wins. Even with all the juice on the moneyline, the Lightning have returned ML investors $1,151 on $100 bets this season. 

PREDICTION: Tampa Bay puckline -1.5 (+115)

Covers NHL betting analysis

Over/Under pick

When taking an Over, we’re expecting both teams to score, and with the way Vasilevskiy has been playing between the Tampa Bay pipes, we just can’t do it.

The Under is 5-0-1 in Tampa’s last six games and the Lightning have suffocated opponents both at even strength and shorthanded. Teams have managed just five even-strength goals against the reigning champs over the last 360 minutes of hockey, while also failing to score in 20 of their 21 power plays. Predicting Chicago to put up a three-pack or better is just wishful thinking.

Chicago owns the league’s best power play at 33.3 percent, but Tampa may have the upper hand in that battle, as their penalty kill unit has been impenetrable. The Blackhawks also don’t draw a lot of penalties — just seven over their last four games — so their best chance to score may not come as often as they’d like.

The top line for Chicago — Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Pius Suter — has accounted for nearly half of the team’s 5×5 goals over the last five games. Tampa hasn’t allowed a goal by a team’s top line since Feb 20 and held the Hawks to a single 5×5 goal in their two meetings this year. 

The Blackhawks have also been off since Sunday and could take a few shifts to get up to game speed.

Give us the Lightning in another low-scoring (or one-sided) affair on Thursday night.

PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (+105)

Lightning vs Blackhawks betting card

  • Tampa Bay puckline -1.5 (+115)
  • Under 5.5 (+105)

NHL parlays

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