The Tampa Bay Lightning (46-22-8) are eight points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs (51-20-6) in the battle for second place in the Atlantic Division going into their matchup Thursday night. With the Bruins hot on their heels, this is an excellent opportunity for Tampa Bay to close the gap on Toronto and pull farther away from Boston, which is reflected in the Maple Leafs vs Lightning prediction.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning Odds & Analysis
As might be expected in a game involving two teams that have been nipping at each other’s heels all year long, the odds have tightened since opening. The Lightning have fallen from -138 favorites to -111, which is great news for those backing the home team. Meanwhile, the Leafs are available at +105.
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Roster Health A Concern For Toronto
The Maple Leafs have won four games in a row, a streak they’ll look to extend as they hit the road for their final trip of the regular season. That excursion will also include meetings with the Panthers and Capitals after tonight’s clash in Tampa.
Toronto has scored 21 goals in its last four outings and is coming off a 5-2 victory at home over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Maple Leafs have won two of three matchups this season vs the Lightning, most recently trouncing Tampa Bay 6-2 at Amalie Arena on April 4.
Auston Matthews notched a hat trick in that contest but is listed as day to day in the injury report, as in Jake Muzzin, something to consider in making a Maple Leafs vs Lightning prediction. Ondrej Kase, Rasmus Sandin and Petr Mrazek are all on injured reserve as well.
Nick Paul Proving A Nice Fit For Bolts
The Lightning are definitely going into this game as the team with less momentum. Tampa Bay is just 4-4-2 through its last 10 games while Toronto has gone 8-1-1 over its last 10.
Tampa Bay has won three of its last four home outings and is 24-8-6 at Amalie Arena but is coming off a 4-3 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday that allowed Boston to gain ground and pull within a point of the Lightning for third place in the Atlantic.
When Nick Paul was acquired from Ottawa at the trade deadline, few could have predicted that he’d be playing on the top line alongside Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. It’s been a small sample size but head coach Jon Cooper likes what he has seen from the forward as he adds some much-needed intensity to the highly skilled top line.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning Pick & Insights
Maple Leafs: Keys To Victory
For the Maple Leafs vs Lightning pick to go the way of the visitors, they need to produce without Auston Matthews in the lineup. Tampa Bay will come prepared to keep Mitch Marner and John Tavares quiet, but given that the Lightning have the third-most penalty minutes in the NHL, Marner and company will surely get some opportunities on the league’s best power play.
Lightning: Keys To Victory
The Lightning have allowed three or more goals in each of their last three games, a trend that must end against Toronto. Tampa’s superior goaltending and defensive play are two of the few advantages it has over Toronto. The Maple Leafs vs Lightning prediction highlights the importance of Andrei Vasilevskiy as he looks to make up for an abysmal performance the last time these teams met.
Odds Shark’s Computer Maple Leafs vs Lightning Prediction: Lightning ML (-120)
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Odds Shark Staff Mon, Jun 27, 1:28pm