Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Series Betting Preview: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Series Betting Preview: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Series Betting Preview: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets

The first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is the best time of year for hockey fans. There are four high-stakes games each night from coast to coast.

We are previewing each series by looking at each team’s path to victory, picks, predictions, and best bets. So let’s keep it going with the Lightning vs. Maple Leafs series preview!

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Series Schedule

Toronto Maple Leafs (A2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (A3)

Tue., April 18: Lightning at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. ET, SNE, SNO, SNP, CBC, TVAS, ESPN

Thu., April 20: Lightning at Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET, SN, CBC, TVAS, ESPN

Sat., April 22: Maple Leafs at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET, TBS, SN, CBC, TVAS

Mon., April 24: Maple Leafs at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET, TBS, SNE, SNO, SNP, CBC

Thur., April 27: Lightning at Maple Leafs, TBA

Sat., April 29: Maple Leafs at Lightning, TBA

Mon., May 1: Lightning at Maple Leafs, TBA

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Path to Victory

Tampa Bay Lightning

This Tampa Bay team knows how to win in the playoffs. The Lightning have won 11 of their past 12 playoff series since 2020, with two Stanley Cup championships and one Stanley Cup Final appearance last year.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies on the planet come playoff time, and Victor Hedman can flip the switch as well. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point are also still intact up front, with Brandon Hagel as a nice role player.

The Lightning beat the Maple Leafs in the first round last year, so they have the blueprint for a victory.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff round in nearly 20 years. However, this could be the year.

Ryan O’Reilly joined Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander as some much-needed center depth before the trade deadline. Being able to run a trio of Matthews, Tavares, and O’Reilly in the playoffs is going to be crucial.

Still, it’s going to come down to the Leafs’ best players being their best players. If they can do that and Ilya Samsonov can hold his own in net, Toronto is going to be partying like it’s 2004 — or 1967.

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets

Over 5.5 Games (-162 via Unibet)

These teams went the full seven games last year, and two of the three regular-season meetings were decided by one goal, including last Tuesday in Tampa Bay with the Leafs shorthanded.

The Leafs are more than good enough to win two games, so it really comes down to if you think the Lightning can win at least two games. Vasilevskiy should steal one, and their experience should help win at least one more.

Maple Leafs to win Game 1 & win the series (+150 via BetMGM)

Toronto is coming into this series hot and should be able to defend home ice in Game 1. After that, it should give them a leg up; they must take care of business. I like this a lot at +150.

Maple Leafs to win in six games (+500 via BetMGM)

It won’t be in seven games if the Leafs win this series. You can’t trust Toronto in a Game 7. However, you can trust them to take a commanding lead early on in the series, and while the Lightning can steal a game or two with Vasilevskiy, the Maple Leafs exorcising their demons down in Tampa Bay in Game 6 at +500? Sign me up.

Follow Ryan Gilbert on Twitter (@RGilbertSOP)



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