Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

NHL Best Bets, Score Predictions for Monday Apr. 19

NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for one NHL game on Monday, Apr. 19, 2021.

Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Bay Lightning

  • Money-Line Odds: Carolina +105; Tampa Bay -121
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: Tampa Bay Bay 4 Carolina 2

Best Bet: Over 6.5

Couldn't have been more wrong the other night in thinking the Bolts would give a much better effort after escaping the first meeting against Florida with a win. Tampa Bay went the other direction after grabbing the victory and took it as an excuse to come out flat again, as that's now three questionable efforts for the defending champs.

Considering Tampa Bay's a team that's only had four “losing streaks” (consecutive games with defeats) all season long, and never lost more than three in a row, backing the Bolts off any loss has done alright this year.

Which was probably the mistake made in taking Tampa Bay on Saturday, expecting a bounce back effort after a couple of sub-par ones. The thought to see Tampa Bay play much better came from knowing how few times they've lost consecutive games this year, and Saturday's game was treated like the Bolts were off a loss because of the lackluster effort. Obviously that wasn't the case.

But Tampa Bay is coming off a loss tonight, and the first place Carolina Hurricanes will definitely have the Bolts attention. Three straight questionable efforts from Tampa Bay does start to make you wonder if it's starting to be systemic with this team, or if the unkind injury bug in Tampa Bay this year is finally starting to show up in the win/loss column.

The season series is split at 3-3 between these two teams if that ends up becoming necessary down the road, but this is also the cheapest price Tampa Bay's had to lay at home in the previous two games. The Bolts won those games by 3-0 and 3-1 final scores with -135 being the cheapest closing price of the two games.

Tampa Bay's recent play is behind that lower opener, and Carolina just showed that they can respond after some weak efforts, outscoring Nashville 7-2 in going 2-0 SU after losing two straight to Detroit.

Zooming out even further on Carolina's recent form show that they are on a 7-2 SU run on the road entering tonight, but there aren't many wins included in there from Tampa Bay, as Carolina is also 1-11 SU in their last 12 in Tampa Bay.

With Tampa Bay off a loss spot actually being applicable here, and the Bolts still wanting to stay in touch of first place in this division, Tampa Bay as small home chalk feels like the correct play here.

Who knows how important Tampa Bay considers home ice to be, but at home they are 2-0 SU against Carolina this year, and 2-2 SU against Florida. Without finishing in first, Tampa Bay will be playing one of those two teams, and they'd still probably prefer having home ice.

Another ugly effort from Tampa Bay would start to have me worrying about how effective this team wants to close out the regular season.

This organization has had the opportunity to treat the final weeks of regular seasons in many different ways in recent years, and with a top-three spot locked up in the Central, the champs may not care who has more playoff games on their own ice during the series.

Still a little early to completely consider that in the handicapping approach though, and Tampa Bay as a -130ish home favorite against anyone would likely run out positive for Tampa Bay against any team they'd play where that price would be considered.

With Tampa Bay in need of a better effort simply just to turn things around, the situation and price here make it comfortable to go back to the well with Tampa Bay tonight.

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