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NHL Odds, Picks: Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 2 Prediction

NHL Odds, Picks: Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 2 Prediction article feature image

Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs

  • The Lightning will look to build off of their dominant 7-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday with an encore performance in Game 2 tonight.
  • Expect a better showing from Toronto tonight, but our hockey expert thinks player props are the way to go.
  • Read below as Nicholas Martin shares his favorite Lighting vs. Maple Leafs betting strategies for Thursday night.

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 2 Odds

Lightning Odds+140
Maple Leafs Odds-170
Over/Under6.5 (+100 / -122)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to shake off a humiliating 7-3 loss in the series opener with a crucial victory Thursday on home ice.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s impressive Game 1 victory did come at a cost. Erik Cernak, Mikey Eyssimont and Viktor Hedman all sustained injuries in the matchup.

Tampa’s injury situation and the “must-win” narrative are seemingly hitting the betting markets in this matchup as the Leafs are now a larger favorite than they were prior to Game 1 priced at -170.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Flip the Script

Many analysts such as myself believed the Lightning had finally taken step backward entering the postseason.

Their defensive results experienced the step back with a 3.37 xGA/60 over the last 15 games of the regular season, and the team played to a 48.81 xGF%. Tampa allowed 3.o7 goals against per game in 82 games, which is a strong mark but not near the league’s elite defensive teams.

Well, the Lightning flipped the script and came through with a crucial 7-3 victory in the series opener and momentarily quelled all those concerns. Tonight’s game will offer a daunting task with Viktor Hedman likely to play through an injury and Erik Cernak out of the lineup officially.

The Lightning did struggle to just a 42.23 expected goal percentage in the series opener. That mark is likely unfair to the true quality of Tampa Bay’s offensive chances.

Tampa’s power play was dominant with four goals in the game, which is not surprising. It has been a key strength in each of the team’s last three runs to the Cup Final.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was not brilliant in Game 1 but ultimately did what he had to do in what was a very odd game. He played to a +0.2 GSAx rating. He has played to a +25.3 GSAx and .915 save % this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto came out completely flat in the first period of the series opener and fell behind 3-0.The Leafs was booed off the ice as the start of a postseason that was supposed to be different.

There was some pushback entering the second period as the Leafs made it 3-2. And their play began to look more like we saw through the regular season. The inability to kill off some poorly timed penalties became the final undoing, though. The Lightning’s fourth and fifth goals, which came on the power play, put the game out of reach.

At even strength, it’s reasonable to expect Toronto to bounce back and carry much of the play versus the Lightning’s depleted defense core in this matchup.

However, whether it will to a victory remains to be seen. It will be very hard to best a team with Andrei Vasilevskiy if they receive goaltending like we saw from Ilya Samsonov in Game 1.

Such a poor showing from Samsonov was arguably the absolute worst thing that could happen for the Leafs in Game 1. Samsonov struggled badly in Washington, often letting down in bigger spots in particular despite entering the league with sky-high potential.

He was a gamble that paid off for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. Samsonov had a +18.0 GSAx rating and .919 save % in 42 regular-season appearances.

All of that good work was seemingly undone in Game 1, though, as he played to a -3.0 GSAx and .798 save percentage.

It’s possible Samsonov bounces back with a better performance, but for the time being, the situation is very concering for Toronto. He displayed a fairly fragile mindset in Washington, which seemingly was a large part of his inconsistent play.

The pressure to perform in a Cup-or-bust season in Toronto is already immeasurable, and Samsonov has not proved he is ready.

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Pick

My belief is that Toronto is going to bounce back with a better showing tonight in what should be a very favorable matchup with the Lightning’s back end dinged up.

However, I want no piece of that price despite my belief the Leafs will carry the play. Samsonov could struggle again. The Lightning’s incredible power play could continue to come up with goals at crucial times. Or Vasilevskiy could have a trademark playoff performance.

That’s enough avenues for the Lightning to hang around as heavy underdogs, so I don’t want to bet the Leafs as a side.

What I do believe we can tap into is the idea that Toronto will generate a lot of shots on goal both at even strength and on the power play.

Auston Matthews is priced at +108 (FanDuel) to record over 4.5 shots on goal in this matchup. I think he will make an impact, and he’s likely to put over 4.5 shots on net.

Vasilevskiy will likely open at around -110 to record over 30.5 saves, and I believe that is another good angle to target in this matchup.

Picks: Auston Matthews over 4.5 shots on goal (+108 on FanDuel) | Andrei Vasilevskiy Over 30.5 Saves (odds TBA)

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