The Toronto Maple Leafs will host the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. Both of these teams come in riding a three-game winning streak. Tampa Bay went on the road and took down Pittsburgh 5-1 on Tuesday and then came home and beat Arizona 5-1 on Thursday and Washington 3-2 on Monday. The Maple Leafs beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime last Wednesday on the road. Toronto then returned home and beat Detroit 5-4 on Saturday and Las Vegas 4-0 on Tuesday.
Tampa Bay is currently tied for the third-best odds to win the Stanley Cup this season at +900, according to Bovada. Currently, the Lighting are 5-3-1 overall, good for a three-way tie for second place in the Atlantic division with Buffalo and Toronto. Against the puck line, the Lighting are just 3-6 this season.
Toronto is 5-4-1 overall and currently tied for sixth in the NHL with +1200 odds to win the Stanley Cup.
The Mape Leafs are 27th with a 7.23 average shooting percentage, ranking 22nd with 2.5 goals per game. Toronto has scored on 17.86% of its power-play opportunities, ranking 21st in the NHL. Defensively Toronto is 13th with an 84.38 penalty kill percentage and 16th, allowing 2.9 goals per game.
Tampa Bay is 10th in the NHL, averaging 3.22 goals per game and 22nd scoring on 16.67 percent of its power-play chances. The Lighting are 23rd, also allowing 3.22 goals per game, and 14th with an 83.87 penalty kill percentage.
Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning +118 and UNDER 6
Both teams are going into this game on a roll, but I will back the defending Stanley Cup Champions for plus money. The Lightning are 8-3 in their last 11 games as an underdog, and their goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is 3-0 with 2.57 Goals Against Average on the road in the year. On the other side, the Maple Leafs have lost their last five games against a team with a winning record, and just 2-5 in their previous seven games when playing on just one day of rest. Even though I like the Lightning here, the Maple Leaf’s Goaltender Jack Campbell should help make this game interesting. At home, Campbell is 3-0 with a 0.98 Goals Against Average and 96.1 Save Percentage. Take Tampa Bay and the under.