The Tampa Bay Lightning (53-26-8) are favored to extend their first-round playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs (57-23-7) to a seventh and deciding game. So far, the two teams have alternated wins with the Leafs winning Game 5 in Toronto on Tuesday. See below for a Maple Leafs vs Lightning prediction, as well as more insight and analysis.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning Odds & Analysis
The Lightning opened as slight favorites for this do-or-die game and early money appears to be favoring Tampa as that number has gotten bigger. If recent history is any indication, Tampa should be a lock to send the series back to Toronto. The Bolts are 16-0 following a loss over the last three postseasons. The total opened at 6.5 and has gone OVER in seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings.
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Closing Time For The Maple Leafs
We’ve heard throughout the series that this is a different Leafs team than those of years past. They say they are more mature and ready to take the next step. Game 6 will be their first chance to turn words into action. Toronto has lost eight straight games with the opportunity to eliminate an opponent and hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004.
The Leafs offense has been rolling, having scored at least three goals in each of their last eight games, including all five in this series. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have proven they have what it takes to perform on the biggest stage, leading the team with seven points each.
There will be a lot of pressure on goaltender Jack Campbell to shut down the Lightning. Since blanking Tampa in Game 1, he has allowed 15 goals in the last three and a half games.
Lightning Hope To Regroup And Bounce Back
This is unfamiliar territory for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. They faced elimination just once over the past two postseasons, defeating the New York Islanders 1-0 in Game 7 of last year’s Stanley Cup semifinals. If they want to live to see another day, they will need Andrei Vasilevskiy to be better than he has been so far. The Lightning netminder has given up 18 goals in five games, more than any other goalie in the playoffs.
Tampa jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Game 5 and appeared to be in great shape to take its first series lead before the Leafs stormed back for the victory. Special teams have played a major role throughout the series. The Leafs and Lightning rank first and second respectively in penalty minutes in the playoffs. The Bolts will need to be much more disciplined if they want to play a Game 7. They have been short-handed at least five times in each of their three losses and were penalized twice in Tuesday’s game for having too many men on the ice.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning Pick & Insights
Maple Leafs: Keys To Victory
John Tavares. This is exactly why the Leafs signed him back in 2018 – for his experience and leadership. He picked up his first goal of the playoffs Tuesday. Scoring first will also be crucial as Game 5 provided the lone lead change of the series. If they can strike early and Tavares is a factor, then taking Toronto when making your Leafs vs Lightning pick may lead to a winning wager.
Lightning: Keys To Victory
Second-line scoring. Brayden Point, Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli have underachieved so far this series, combining for just one goal. If they continue to depend solely on their top unit and defenseman Victor Hedman for offense, then the Lightning’s season could come to an end tonight.
Odds Shark’s Computer Maple Leafs vs Lightning Prediction: Leafs +115
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