Lightning vs Maple Leafs Betting Preview

Lightning Have Small Window to Catch Toronto in the Atlantic, Must Win Tonight

The Tampa Bay Lightning (41-26-7, 89 points) are not yet in the Stanley Cup discussion but a win tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs (43-22-9, 95 points) could start the talk for a team that has hovered below the top three teams in the Atlantic Division for most of the season.

Opening NHL betting odds show the Maple Leafs a -142 home favorite with a total of 6.5 (under -118). The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT from Scotiabank Arena and can be seen on Bally Sports Sunshine Network. Let’s start our Lightning vs Maple Leafs betting preview. 

Lightning logo Lightning vs Maple Leafs Maple Leafs logo

Location: Scotiabank Arena
Streaming: Bally Sports Sunshine Network

Tampa Bay A Little Off Heading Down The Stretch

There has been something about Jon Cooper’s 2024 Tampa Bay Lightning that doesn’t quire strike the same fear into the hearts of opponents as they have in the past. For us it starts with goaltending where the Lightning have had to make another move with back-up Jonas Johansson (12-7-5, 3.37, .890) day-to-day with a lower body injury. Matt Tomkins (1-2, 3.40, .889) has been recalled from Syracuse Crunch. Andrei Vasilevskiy (28-17-2, 2.86, .900) is back after playing in just 47 games this season, and just when it appeared Tampa would find stability in net, Johansson left against Red Wings forcing Tampa to activate their EBUG.

We have the Lightning as the 11th best team in our latest power ranking, sixth in the East. Tampa will likely face either the Boston Bruins or the New York Rangers in the first round of the postseason, but a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs would pull them within four points of Toronto who hold down the third spot in the Atlantic.

If Tampa, whose Stanley Cup odds is 28-1, is to get by their first round opponent, they must be better defensively, giving up 3.26 goals per game (22nd). With Vasilevskiy knowing he must reach back to his old form in order to give his team a chance to win, there has been some indication that he may do just that after allowing one goal three times in his last five games.

For bettors, the Lightning have produced a small 0.83 profit. If they do finish in the black, it would be the sixth season in their last seven that they’ve produced a profit. This will be the third meeting between these two clubs with the Leafs winning both games. Over the last two seasons, the Bolts are just 3-8 against Toronto. We’ll see if that trend continues tonight. 

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Maple Leafs Get Veteran Back

It appears Morgan Rielly (7-44-51) will be back for tonight’s massive clash after getting hurt against the Carolina Hurricanes (2-1 loss) on March 24th. Toronto has managed to continue winning with Reilly but getting their top defesnemen back will take some of the sting out of losing Mitch Marner who isn’t expected to be back until Saturday against Montreal. That’s good news for Sheldon Keefe who is also without Joel Edmundson (undisclosed) and Timothy Liljegren (upper body) for the last week.

From a handicapping standpoint that brings us back to an old rule and that’s to be very careful when betting on teams who are getting a top player back because every defensive pairing has to readjust to a new partner and a decrease in minutes. It typically takes a few games before NHL teams settle back into what you know them to be.

Like Tampa, Toronto has produced a tiny profit (+0.17 units) this season, but are 35-24 (.593) as a favorite and are +5.13 units against teams over .500. As a -140 favorite or more, the Leafs are 25-14 (.641) and 93-62 (.600) over the last three seasons. This is setting up to be one of the more entertaining NHL scores on the card. 

Plenty Of Goals In This One

Through the years, we have shied away from going over totals of 6.5 and more because the number show it doesn’t pay to do so. This season, the under is 361-314 (.535) and 816-794 (.507) over the last three seasons when the opening number is 6.5.

Despite the numbers, there are some teams where you need to throw statistics out the window and Toronto is one of those teams, in fact, they are one of the few teams who have cashed over tickets (78-69) in the face of what the rest of the league is doing over the last three seasons. Tampa has also been right with them with a 64-62 record record to the over.

We’re going to follow those trends in this one and take the small over price of -104 as your official play. That does it for our Lighting vs Leafs betting preview, we wish you all the best with your NHL picks and parlays on Wednesday.

Lightning vs Maple Leafs Betting Odds

For NHL predictions today, betting odds, analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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