NHL Playoffs Odds: Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 1 prediction, pick, how to watch – 4/18/2023

In a rematch of 2022, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs face off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is time to continue our NHL odds series with a game one Lightning-Maple Leafs prediction, pick, and how to watch.

Last year Tampa lost game one 5-0 in Toronto, before winning game two. The series went seven with Tampa Bay winning the last two, including one of the road, en route to a Stanley Cup finals. Tampa Bay once against finished third in the Atlantic division, doing 46-30-6 on the season. They finished the season with a win, but not playing great, going 4-6-0 in the last ten. Toronto comes in after getting second in the Atlantic again. On the season they went 50-21-11, and have won their last four games, going 7-1-2 in the last ten.

Here are the Lightning-Maple Leafs NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel

NHL Playoff Odds: Lightning-Maple Leafs Odds

Tampa Bay Lightning: +1.5 (-196)

Toronto Maple Leafs: -1.5 (+162)

Over: 5.5 (-134)

Under: 5.5 (+110)

How To Watch Lightning vs. Maple Leafs



Time: 7:30 PM ET/ 4:30 PM PT

*Watch NHL games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Lightning Could Cover The Spread

Name the player tied for third in the NHL in points. How about the guy who is 5th in the NHL in goals? Both of those players are on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kucherov has another amazing year, amassing 113 points this year to tie him with David Pastrnak for third in the NHL. He finished the year with 30 goals and 83 assists, which was good for second in the NHL. Kucherov comes into the match-up with a point in six straight games, including two goals and seven assists. Brayden Point scored twice on the last day of the season to get to 50 goals. He has netter 14 goals since March 1st and is heating up at the right time.

The combo of Kucherov and Point has led them to a 25.4% power play percentage, which is third in the NHL. They are also averaging 3.41 goals per game, which is good for 8th in the NHL. The Lightning is also 8th in the NHL in shot percentage as well. Still, with all that offense, they dropped eight of their last 12 games. They were outscored badly in many of them. They allow 32 shots per game and over three goals per game. Was it just saving for the playoffs, or are the Lightning fatigued from playing so much hockey over the last three seasons?

If the Lightning is going to move on, they will rely on Andrei Vasilevsky once again. The playoff hero of the three straight finals runs has looked pedestrian at times this year. On the season he is tied for 14th in goals against average at 2.65. He is 11th in save percentage at .915. His last two starts of the year were bad. He allowed 4 goals on 24 shots against Toronto, and before that were 6 goals on 37 shots against New York. Vasilevsky needs to be back into playoff form if Tampa is going back to the finals.

Why The Maple Leafs Could Cover The Spread

Toronto lost the series last year and made moves to make sure they did not do it again. The Maple Leafs seem prepared to exorcise the demons of years past and move on this year. The offense has scorers, with four guys at 80 points or more on the season. The Maple Leafs were one spot behind the Lightning in goals per game, with 3.39 goals per outing. The power play was solid, with a 26% conversion rate that was good for second in the NHL. Their shots on goal were also quality, with a 10.6% shot percentage on the year.

If the team stats look very familiar to the section above, it’s because they are. The Lightning and Maple Leafs put out nearly identical offenses performances this year. While Tampa Bay was led heavily by two guys, four men shared the load in Toronto. William Nylander and Auston Matthews both have 40 goals on the season. Mitchell Marner leads the team in points with 99 on the season, with 30 goals and 99 assists.  Then there is John Tavares, who had 36 goals and 44 assists on the season. His end of the season was great, with points in the last three games, and three goals in the three games as well.

Ilya Samsonov also seems primed for a playoff breakout. The former Washington Capitals goalie has been great for Toronto. He was 5th in the NHL with 2.33 goals per game on the season and 6th in save percentage at .919. In his five starts in April. he has a .959 save percentage, and one shutout on the books, going 3-1-1 in that time frame.

Final Lightning-Maple Leafs Prediction & Pick

This series and game may come down to the power play. Both teams are great on the power play, ranking in the top three of the league. They also have similar penalty kills with Toronto being slightly better at 81.9% versus the 79.7% of Tampa Bay. The difference is Tampa Bay was third in penalty minutes on the season, while Toronto was 20th. There was a 304-minute difference between the two teams during the season. Goaltending is also an area to watch. Samsonov has been better on the year, but Vasilevsky has the experience. In game one, experience loses. Marner and Matthews both score and a power play goal tilt this in the advantage of Toronto. They take game one and lead the series.

Final Ducks-Kings Prediction & Pick:  Toronto (+162) and Over 5.5 (-134) 

The post NHL Playoffs Odds: Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 1 prediction, pick, how to watch – 4/18/2023 appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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