You have to go all the way back to 2004 for the last time that Tampa Bay Lightning last won the Stanley Cup, but the Florida-based side have put themselves in the best possible frame of mind to end that wait. A total of 47 wins have come from their 62 outings this season, and the Bolts hold a 15-point advantage over their nearest challengers. There are still several months until the next champions are crowned and Tampa Bay will have to successfully come through the playoff system in order to get their hands on the trophy, but the challenges will continue to come and next in line is the lowly Los Angeles Kings, with it being perceived that they face the impossible task of getting anything from the leaders.
When you consider your NHL betting odds over the next couple of days, you will most likely be focusing your attention on the margin of victory rather than Tampa Bay simply prevailing in front of their home supporters. They are currently on an eight-match winning streak and have scored at least five times in at least half of those games, but the Lightning were made to work in their last outing and only emerged victorious by a 2-1 scoreline against mid-table Buffalo Sabres. Head coach Jon Cooper will point to the fact that the win was the most important thing, but there is at least some doubt over whether the Lightning will run riot on Monday night.
Tampa Bay have suffered just two defeats in 32 matches at the Amalie Arena and we cannot see the Kings inflicting a third, but we do not see this necessarily being one-way traffic. Los Angeles find themselves on a six-match losing streak ahead of their weekend encounter with the Florida Panthers, but each of those defeats have come by a narrow margin and there have been few signs that the Kings are losing confidence with each outing. That may change if they under-perform in a winnable game against the Panthers, but a victory will ease any pressure which they will be putting on themselves ahead of the trip to the East Coast.
Another thing to note is that Los Angeles have tightened up their defence in recent fixtures. Eleven goals were shipped in the space of two matches earlier in the month, but just five have been conceded in their last two outings. Running the highly-ranked Nashville Predators close on Thursday was a hugely-impressive effort, and it showed that sitting in 30th place out of 31 teams can currently be perceived as a false position. We are backing Tampa Bay Lightning to win by a two-goal margin - and perhaps by a 3-1 scoreline - and those are the two bets which you should be considering ahead of Monday's showdown.