With a playoff berth on the line, it can be argued that this game between Lightning (+135) and Leafs (-165) is the most important of the entire NHL season to date. The Lightning need to win out if they want any chance at sneaking into the postseason and it all starts tonight. If the Leafs handle their business and get two points, however, Tampa will be eliminated and both the Buds and Senators will clinch a spot in Lord Stanley’s playoffs.
The Maple Leafs have lost two of their last three games and they were shut out in their last game, which they really needed a W. They are on the cusp of the post-season, but only rank in the middle of the pack in terms of goals per game and goals again.
Toronto can punch their ticket to the post-season with a win and they had won four in a row before getting schooled losing 4-1 in their last game. They have the offense ranking 5th in the league in goals per game, but did not show it in their last outing, but only rank 21st in goals against. One good thing the Maple Leafs have going for them is that they are 23-11-1 in their last 35 home games against the Lighting.
The Lightning were blanked in their last game losing 4-0 to the Boston Bruins, who clinched a playoff berth with the win. Tampa Bay was out-shot 38-28 in the game and they gave up two goals in each of the last two periods. Andrei Vasilevskiy (20-17-7 2.67 GAA) took the loss between the pipes for the Lightning stopping 34 of 37 shots. He has lost his last two starts, but has not been that bad allowing five goals while in those games Tampa Bay only had one goal. In his last five starts he has allowed 13 goals. Nikita Kucherov leads the Lightning in points (81) and goals (38) and he has gone goalless in the last four games and TB could really use a solid game from their leader. This season the Lighting are 17-16-6 on the road.
The Maple Leafs are 6-0 SU in their last 6 games at home against teams with losing records.
The total has gone UNDER in 3 of the Lightning’s last 4 games against the Maple Leafs.
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of the Lightning’s last 8 games with 1 day off between games.
The big question heading into tonight’s penultimate matchup between the Bolts and Leafs this season is whether or not Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be able to suit up for the first time since November. Stammer has been on the questionable list for over a week now and it’s starting to look doubtful that he makes a return before the 2017-18 season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs sport a record of 39-25-15 heading into this matchup, while the Tampa Bay Lightning sit at 39-30-10 on the season. The OVER/UNDER records are 36-41-2 for the Maple Leafs and 36-36-7 for the Lightning. Sign up at Heritagesports