Monday evening brings a rematch from last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Tampa Bay Lightning head north to face the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM ET at Scotiabank Arena. Tampa was last in action on Saturday where they hammered the Ottawa Senators 6-4, giving them some much-needed momentum for this matchup. As for Toronto, they've now lost four in a row after falling 6-4 to the Buffalo Sabres over the weekend. Needless to say, the hosts need a victory very badly. Continue reading for the Lightning vs Maple Leafs picks below.
Lightning vs Maple Leafs Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+136||+140||+130|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-153||-155||-150|
Despite their recent cold skid, the Leafs are the favorite with -153 moneyline odds. The Lightning come back at +136. The total is set at 6.5 goals. Toronto of course knocked off Tampa Bay in the first round of last season's playoffs in six games. As for regular season matchups, the Leafs have won three meetings in a row, including a 4-3 victory on October 22nd.
Tampa Playing Respectable Hockey
The Lightning are off to a respectable 5-3-3 start, which is good enough for third place in the Atlantic Division behind the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins. The Tampa offense is what's standing out most so far, scoring 3.64 goals per game. That ranks seventh in the league. There's a plethora of players doing their part, but Nikita Kucherov is clearly the star of the show. The superstar has scored seven goals and supplied nine assists already and will surely be a crucial part of this team as the campaign rolls on. Brandon Hagel has also scored six times while the likes of Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Brayden Point are all contributing nicely as well.
Tampa managed to end a two-game skid on Saturday just up the road from Toronto in Ottawa, putting their offensive brilliance on full display. Point stole the spotlight here with a hat trick and assist. The first period was rather even with a goal apiece but the Lightning broke things wide open in the second period with three goals. Two of them belonged to Point. Jon Cooper's squad outshot the Sens 37-28. In net, Jonas Johansson made 24 saves and moved to 5-1-3 on the season. He's been doing a solid job in place of the injured Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is expected to miss the first two months of the season after undergoing back surgery.
While the Lightning are fresh off a statement win, they tend to struggle on the road, compiling a 1-3-1 record away compared to a 4-0-2 mark at home. But considering how the Maple Leafs are performing lately, Tampa should feel confident about rolling into Scotiabank Arena and continuing to make their lives miserable.
Can Toronto Figure it Out?
We all know the Maple Leafs are an extremely talented team headlined by Auston Matthews and William Nylander. But while they have a fantastic core, depth has proven to be a problem in 2023-24. To put things into perspective, Matthews has scored in every single game this season (11 goals so far) and Nylander just broke the franchise record for most consecutive games with a point. However, the issue is the core four of Matthews, Nylander, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner have scored nearly three-quarters of the team's goals.
Example: Saturday against the Sabres. Matthews bagged a hat-trick, Marner had four points, and Nylander also tallied an assist. Overall, Toronto found the back of the net four times but conceded six and ended up losing. Their blue line is allowing a concerning 3.27 goals per contest and 31.3 shots per night. Both of those rank 20th in the NHL. But, as previously mentioned, the thing that the Leafs must figure out ASAP is their third and fourth lines actually producing. Max Domi has barely done anything offensively and Tyler Bertuzzi has yet to score at even strength.
Toronto went out and added numerous pieces in free agency in order to surround their stars with stability. That hasn't been the case. On a more positive note, the Leafs now have a four-game homestand here. Hopefully, that can help them get back on track.
Lightning vs Maple Leafs Picks
Betting on the Leafs doesn't exactly seem like the best idea at the moment. That being said, I do think playing the same team that they knocked out in the playoffs should give them extra motivation, especially being at home, too. Take the moneyline.
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