The Tampa Bay Lightning flipped the switch on the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2 and burned the Buds and their lack of discipline with three power-play markers in Wednesday’s 5-3 win. Now the series moves to Tampa where the Bolts are 17-9 SU over the last two postseasons.
Can the Leafs rebound, stay out of the box and avoid a 2-1 series deficit? Can the Bolts up their game at 5-on-5 and finally hold the Leafs to under 30 shots? Find out in free NHL picks and predictions for Maple Leafs vs. Lightning.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Lightning opened at -115 on the ML but have moved five points to -120. The total also opened at 6.5 after opening at 6 for Game 2. The Leafs closed as -135 favorites in Game 2 and -120 favorites in Game 1. Tampa was a -130 home favorite for the most-recent regular-season meeting in late April.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning predictions
Predictions made on 5/06/2022 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Maple Leafs vs Lightning game info
• Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay, FL
• Date: Friday, May 6, 2022
• Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: TBS, Sportsnet
Maple Leafs vs Lightning series odds (tied 1-1)
Maple Leafs: -105
Maple Leafs vs Lightning betting preview
Maple Leafs: Rasmus Sandin D (Out), Petr Mrazek G (Out).
Lightning: Jan Rutta D (Questionable).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning head-to-head record since 2018-19
Maple Leafs: 6-7 SU, 38 goals for.
Lightning: 7-6 SU, 47 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 21-5-2 in the Maple Leafs’ last 28 road games. Find more NHL betting trends for Maple Leafs vs. Lightning.
Maple Leafs vs Lightning picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
You can’t beat the Lightning in back-to-back games, as the Leafs learned in Game 2. Tampa evened the series on Wednesday and moved to 15-0 SU following a playoff loss over the last three seasons. The Bolts were aided by a parade of Toronto penalties that resulted in three Tampa power-play goals.
The three extra-strength markers were a welcomed sign for John Cooper’s club, which went 0-for-5 on the PP in Game 1, including a five-minute major against the Leafs. This is a PP that was 14-for-29 heading into the postseason, and if the Leafs don’t stop taking unnecessary penalties, they could leave Florida in a serious hole.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters after Game 2 that he has been a little surprised at how the playoffs have been called and the amount of power plays given out. Game 2 had just over 45 minutes of 5-on-5 action, and with the way the past three meetings have gone, including the regular-season finale, we doubt the aggressive stuff slows down in Game 3.
Sheldon Keefe, surprised to see the amount of obstruction and interference type calls being made by officials during the early going of the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/GmsnqSef5f
— David Alter (@dalter) May 5, 2022
In total, the first two games of the series have seen a total of 22 power-play opportunities. The Bolts have the playoff experience to figure out how far they can push the needle, but the Leafs are still adapting. Tampa has the advantage in the physical game right now, and if Game 3 is won on special teams, the Tampa PP is just too hot right now having scored 17 goals over its last 10 games.
We’re also getting a slightly long price on the Bolts at -115. Toronto closed as a -135 favorite in Game 2 and should be at least +105 or +110 tonight on the road. This is a very evenly-matched series in which the books had the Leafs as the favorite, but Tampa is now -115 to win the series. The Bolts could close at -125 or -130 and the market is starting to move that way.
The Leafs are getting great production from Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, which is great news for Toronto after last season’s playoffs, but the supporting cast hasn’t chipped in.
Captain and $11M dollar second-line center John Tavares has a single assist and five shots through two home games. He has just one goal over his last 10 games and his second line with Ilya Mikheyev and Alex Kerfoot had a 26.4% xgoal% at 5-on-5 in Game 2. With the Leafs not having last change, this second line will have to wake up, and right now, it’s not looking promising for them.
Outside of the top line, Toronto has goal production from David Kampf (shorthanded), Alex Kerfoot (shorthanded) and Jake Muzzin. This lack of depth scoring at even strength is not good enough to beat the Bolts.
There is more pressure on the Leafs tonight to win Game 3, and if they find themselves in the box again, they could be in a must-win game Sunday down 2-1. The Leafs do own the league’s best offense on the road at 3.88 goals per game ,but they also give up 3.56 goals per game which is the eighth-worst mark in hockey.
We don’t see the refs changing the way they call this game, and if the Bolts get another five or six power-play opportunities tonight, we have to take them — we also think they’re 10 to 15 points too short at this price.
Prediction: Lightning moneyline (-115 at Coolbet)
These two teams have met four times over the last 35 days and the Over is a 3-1 with the one Under being Toronto’s 5-0 win. In each of these meetings, one team has scored at least five goals, and the last five meetings have produced 38 total goals — 12 of those coming with the man advantage.
Money Puck had 7.54 expected goals in Game 2, while Game 1 finished with 6.54 xgoals. Both teams have also been generating a ton of scoring chances, as the Leafs and Bolts have combined for 143 total scoring chances and 55 high-danger chances over 120 minutes of action, per Natural Stat Trick.
Both teams have been wanting to set the physical tone, which stemmed from their April 21 meeting, but the Leafs have struggled to stay out of the box which is a very underrated playoff skill. Getting into scrums and not being the only man taken off is something playoff teams have experience with and the Bolts have the advantage. Even if Kyle Clifford doesn’t suit up (suspended for one game after a bad hit on Colton Ross), we doubt things will be tame in Game 3.
#Leafs lines during morning skate May 6/22
*Filling in for Kase
— David Alter (@dalter) May 6, 2022
Yes, Sheldon Keefe and the Leafs talked extensively about not taking penalties, but this veteran Tampa team knows how to push their buttons and even if the Bolts get just four opportunities, they’ve been humming at over 40% over their last 10 games and can still do plenty of damage with less PP time.
The Leafs scored more away goals than any other team in hockey this season. Their 3.83 goals per game were easily the best mark in the league, but their 7.44 total goal per road game was also the highest mark in hockey. On the season, the Leafs finished 27-12 to the Over on the road and 8-1 O/U in their last nine road games.
The total in Game 1 opened at 6.5, then for some reason, hit 6 for Game 2 which was not the right number. Today’s 6.5 is on the mark and getting it at even money is a treat considering both teams have shown they can pile up the goals over the last four meetings.
Getting Andrei Vasilevskiy after a win is also a recommended move as he has been elite following a loss. We’re expecting the Leafs to continue to fire a ton of pucks on net, as they’re averaging 35.7 shots per game against Tampa this season over six games and both power plays should make an impact. If Keefe moves William Nylander up to the second line to try and jump-start some secondary scoring, that would also help this Over.
Prediction: Over 6.5 (+115 at Coolbet)
Auston Matthews is coming off a three-shot performance in defeat and should put tonight’s game on his shoulders. Matthews has missed plenty of ice time with all the Toronto penalties so an increase in production is on the way if the Leafs can stay out of the box.
The Rocket Richard winner averaged 4.9 shots per game on the road this season and had seven shots in his last game in Tampa, so we’re not worried about last change matchups from the home side.
The Leafs have also pumped plenty of shots on net versus the Bolts this season at 35.7 shots per game over six games.
Toronto should be more disciplined, which should keep 34 on the ice in a pivotal game — and big players show up in big moments. He has five goals and seven assists in five games versus Tampa this season.
Pick: Matthews Over 4.5 shots on goal (-110)