During their runs to the Stanley Cup in each of the last two seasons, the Tampa Bay Lightning were mostly in control during each of their postseason series. Now, down 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Lightning are in the unfamiliar position of needing to win back-to-back games in order to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive. So, from a series perspective, the Maple Leafs vs Lightning betting analysis favors Toronto.
Following a tough 4-3 loss in Game 5, a game in which the Lightning led at the start of the third period, Tampa Bay is facing elimination on Thursday night. The good news for the Lightning is that they’re favored in Game 6 at home and that, based on how this series has been a complete back-and-forth affair, Tampa Bay is due for a win. The Lightning are too good to go down without a fight.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 6 Information
- Game: Toronto Maple Leafs (3-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (2-3)
- Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Fla.
- Day/Time: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Television: TBS
Lightning Need to Close Better
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a two-goal lead in Game 5 but only scored one goal the rest of the game. The Toronto Maple Leafs used a pair of goals just 73 seconds apart early in the third period to flip the game on its head. If Tampa Bay is going to even this series up, the Lightning need to play a more consistent 60 minutes from start to finish.
If there’s going to be another Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup parade this summer, it’s going to be because the reigning champions get back to their basics of building early leads through their explosive forward group and holding them with the stellar net play of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Too often in this series, the Lightning either let Toronto race out to a quick start or failed to put away the Maple Leafs after getting out to their own quick start.
Toronto: Too Many Lapses
For all of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ talent, it feels like they aren’t as dominant a team as they should be. Of course, it’s hard to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, let alone blow them out. However, given how much Vasilevskiy has struggled and how well the Maple Leafs have played at times in this series, Toronto needed a furious comeback in Game 5 just to maintain home-ice advantage.
In the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s so critical to utilize every opportunity you’re presented with and that’s something Toronto has done well. But, you can’t just rely on those opportunities to show up; you need to make them happen. Earlier in this series, when the Maple Leafs controlled play from the get-go in Games 1 and 3, they looked unbeatable. But, in Games 4 and 5, the Lightning were the better team. That should shift the Maple Leafs vs Lightning betting analysis a bit.
Lightning Will Respond
Even though the Toronto Maple Leafs are healthy favorites to win the series, the Tampa Bay Lightning are rightfully favored on Thursday because this is a game Tampa Bay should win going away. From the beginning, the Lightning-Maple Leafs matchup felt like one that was destined to go seven games because the teams are so evenly matched. And, so far, they’ve alternated wins as you might expect.
That makes the Maple Leafs vs Lightning betting analysis very simple: Look for the Lightning to keep the trend going and win to force a decisive Game 7. They’ve been the better team over the past two games and were very hard to beat in Tampa during the regular season. Those are two important factors heading into Game 6. Also, you can be sure Vasilevskiy will be up to the task.Follow us on Twitter