Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov warming up before an NHL hockey game.

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) warms up before Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals series against the Montreal Canadiens, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • The Penguins and Lightning open the NHL season on Tuesday at 7:30 pm ET as the Lightning raise their Stanley Cup banner again.
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to start against Tristan Jarry in this highly-anticipated matchup.
  • Read below for the NHL odds, game preview, and betting pick

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins clash as the 2021-22 NHL season begins. Game number one will be played on Tuesday, October 12th (7:30 pm ET) at Amalie Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN, TVAS, and Sportsnet.

Tampa Bay is listed as strong -185 home favorites to win their season opener.

Can the Tampa Bay Lightning win as expected or will the Pittsburgh Penguins pull off the upset?

Penguins vs Lightning Odds – NHL Season Opener

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Pittsburgh Penguins +150 +1.5 (-170) O 6 (-105)
Tampa Bay Lightning -185 -1.5 (+150) U 6 (-115)

Odds as of October 11th at DraftKings.

Could There Be a Possible NHL Odds Shift Here?

This Pittsburgh Penguins had an interesting offseason but the injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin put a damper on the team’s prospects at least initially. While Malkin appears to be out long-term, there was the extra added issue of Jake Guentzel’s COVID diagnosis. The hope is that at least both Crosby and Guentzel were skating on Monday.

That line placement seems to indicate that though Crosby and Guentzel are close, they are not ready to play against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. It seems if they were to play, it might be later in the week against the Florida Panthers. That makes some sense considering practice time is likely needed for both to get in a bit better game shape. Yes, they are both first-line talents but to ask them to play against Tampa Bay and Florida is too much honestly.

The good news is that there should be no sudden shifts in these NHL odds at least.

Tampa Bay and the Stanley Cup Trend?

At first, there were some questions about how a team fares after winning the Stanley Cup. Now, that Tampa Bay has repeated as champions, it is interesting to see what their Stanley Cup Odds look like as well. Aside from that, is there a trend of sorts? Remember last year, Tampa Bay got off to an uneven start mostly because they were missing Nikita Kucherov for the regular season.

For those wondering, Tampa Bay is 19-7-2 in their last 28 season openers. As for Stanley Cup Champions, the season opener has been good, to say the least. Teams have gone 59-25-16 over the past century. However, in the last ten years, that mark is just 3-4-3. Also, that Tampa Bay record includes seven straight season-opening wins. If they defeat Pittsburgh on Tuesday, that would make the Lightning the sixth team to win eight straight such contests.

Are the Tampa Bay Lightning going to drop off any time soon? That answer appears to be no. With Jon Cooper extended for another three seasons, the Lightning coaching staff and team are in good hands. Their window may be shrinking but there is a reason why Tampa Bay has a chance to three-peat (that is something which has not happened in nearly 40 years (New York Islanders).

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning Last Five Meetings

Date Result
2/11/2020 Tampa Bay 2-1 (OT)
2/6/2020 Tampa Bay 4-2
10/23/2019 Tampa Bay 3-2
2/9/2019 Tampa Bay 5-4
1/30/2019 Pittsburgh 4-2

Do note that because of the divisional format last season, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay did not face each other.

Best Bet

Tampa Bay is a  strong home favorite to raise the banner and win their season opener once again on Tuesday night. NHL betting lines, as we mentioned, have 88% of the money on Tampa Bay currently. With Andrei Vasilevskiy, Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and a healthy Victor Hedman, it is hard to pick against them.

For Pittsburgh, there is no Evgeni Malkin. Currently, it does appear there will be no Jake Guentzel or Sidney Crosby as well. That makes a tough game even tougher. Tampa Bay’s top-six is the best in the Eastern Conference and our NHL pick Tuesday night is to take the Tampa Bay Lightning on the moneyline.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning Moneyline (-185)

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Chris Wassel

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