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NHL Betting Preview (April 3): Lightning vs Maple Leafs Odds

Toronto Maple Leafs
Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
2 months ago
A date with the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning will provide another playoff tune-up for Sheldon Keefe’s Toronto side. These two rivals have played a ton of highly competitive hockey in recent years, including splitting back-to-back first round playoff matchups.
Since the start of the 2021-22 season, Tampa Bay is 9-10-3 versus the Leafs, while the Leafs are 13-8-1.
Home ice has not been an advantage in this rivalry, as road teams are 11-8-3 in those games.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Lightning vs Maple Leafs Odds

  • Lightning Moneyline Odds: +107
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -128
  • Puck Line Odds: Lightning +1.5 (-222), Maple Leafs -1.5 (+175)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over -115, under -105)
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning’s defensive play was far from what it once was in the early part of this season, which was a huge reason why Andrei Vasilevskiy put up such modest numbers early on. The fact that Vasilevskiy entered the season late after receiving back surgery surely didn’t help things either.
Suddenly Vasilevskiy is back in top form, and he is being supported by far sharper defensive play to boot. Since the trade deadline, the Lightning own the leagues third-best xGA/60 rating of 2.54. They have put up an 8-1-1 record in those games, allowing only 2.28 goals against where it matters.
Their even strength play has looked considerably improved of late. Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli have both trended into better form, and coupled with the addition of Anthony Duclair the Lightning look to have a far deeper offensive unit than we saw earlier in the year.
Nikita Kucherov has powered the Lightning to a 29.3% success rate on the man advantage, which is the top mark in the league. If they can continue to show improved play at even strength while receiving superb goaltending from Vasilevskiy, the Lightning could be a sneaky contender this season.
Vasilevskiy has been confirmed as the Lightning’s starter in this matchup, which means they will likely hand tomorrow’s start in Montreal to Matt Tomkins; keep that in mind as tomorrow’s betting prices emerge.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs put together another impressive display overall Monday versus the Panthers, and are now 18-8-1 since the All-Star break. The fact that they let that they once again allowed the game to be closer than it needed to be late was a concern, but a regulation win over one of the leagues best still has to be viewed as a positive overall.
The Leafs powerplay failed to break through in that matchup once again, and have remained in bad form on the man advantage for a relatively large sample. You could spin that as a positive if you want; they have been able to win games recently despite not finding success on the man advantage, but when Mitch Marner eventually returns that unit could become a strength once again.
Morgan Rielly appears to be returning to the lineup for tonight’s game based upon Toronto’s morning skate. He looks to be sliding in for Mark Giordano, while Joel Edmundson will remain out of the lineup on the back end.
Marner seems to be getting closer to returning, but will miss this matchup.
Joseph Woll appears to be the Leafs starting goaltender in this matchup. He has played to a +8.2 GSAx and .910 save % in 22 appearances this season.
Best Bets for Lightning vs Leafs
The Lightning’s even strength play has been drastically improved of late, and suddenly they have become a much more formidable opponent as a result. They should continue to hold one the best man advantages in the league, which is a clear edge over the Leafs with Marner sidelined.
Vasilevskiy still has to be viewed as the better goaltending option too, even if he and Woll own comparable numbers over the entirety of the season.
The Leafs can be proud of the way they have battled through this current mess of injuries, but it still seems that for the time being these two teams are closer than today’s betting numbers suggest.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Moneyline +107

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