NHL Playoffs: Lightning at Leafs

On Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning will meet for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series in 2023.

The NHL odds opened with the Leafs as a -150 favorite.

When Toronto faced Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs a year ago, the Lightning were the reigning Stanley Cup champions and Toronto had a home-ice advantage. The Leafs led the series 3-2 in Game 6 in Tampa by the same score midway through the third period before losing 4-3 on a goal by Brayden Point 18:04 into overtime. After losing to Colorado in the Stanley Cup Finals last season, the Lightning headed to Toronto and won Game 7 by a score of 2-1.

The series line now lists Toronto as a -156 favorite against the Lightning (+138), despite Toronto having the longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL (not having won the Cup since 2004). I’m leaning toward the +427 odds for a Leafs win in seven games. The spread for the number of games played is 5.5, with the over getting -172 odds. Put your money on the over. The odds on it ending in six games or seven games are +210 and +220 respectively. For Game 1, the Leafs are the preferred game and series double at +124. Also agree.

Each game in the regular season series was decided by four goals, with the Maple Leafs emerging victorious.

Is the Lightning’s lack of success this playoffs a result of their having played so many games in previous postseasons? After reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the third consecutive season, they will have basically played a whole regular season.

Even though Andrei Vasilevskiy will go into the Hall of Fame on the first vote, his 34-22-4 record, 2.65 goals against average, and.915 save percentage show that he struggled this year. He struggled more on the road, with a record of 14-14-0 with a GAA of 2.75 and an SV% of.913. Nikita Kucherov scored 113 points, the second-most in his career, to lead the Lightning. Brayden Point scored 51 of them, which was the most of anybody. In the last three playoffs, Kucherov and Point have been two of the finest players in the NHL. With 93 points (23G, 70A), Kucherov has amassed the most in the league throughout that time. Markham, Ontario native Steven Stamkos scored 34 goals and dished out 50 assists for a minus-5 plus/minus.

The Maple Leafs of Toronto
The Leafs won four in a row despite sitting out key players down the stretch, including a 4-1 victory over the Lightning on April 11 with Joseph Woll in net. Something terrible must have happened for Toronto to have him play in a playoff game.

Ilya Samsonov, who was nearly untouchable at Scotiabank Arena with a 19-3-3 record, 1.98 GAA, and.927 SV, will get the call. Mitchell Marner fell short of 100 points this season, finishing with a career-high 99, and he missed two games for Toronto. Auston Matthews (74) and William Nylander (82 games) lead the team in scoring with 40 goals apiece. The odds on Matthews scoring the most goals in this series are +334, while the odds on Nylander are +588. The club may have been taking it easy on recently acquired defenseman Erik Gustafsson from Washington, who missed the last three games of the regular season with an upper-body ailment.

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