NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Lightning vs Maple Leafs Game 5 (Thursday, April 27)
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews.
- The Maple Leafs are looking to close out the Lightning at home in Game 5 on Thursday night.
- Our expert doesn't want to bet against the Lightning, but sees more value on the total in this matchup.
- Greg Liodice previews the game and shares his Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 5 best bet below.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 5 Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-156|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
It’s do-or-die for the dynasty as the Tampa Bay Lightning square off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. It’s been a rough series for the Lightning, who are down 3-1 after three straight years of making it to the Stanley Cup Final. We’ll see if their historic run ends on Thursday.
The Maple Leafs have a lot riding on this game as they are hoping to advance to the second round for the first time since 2004. Toronto is red hot and has won three straight.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as a betting prediction for Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Game 5.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Even though the results aren’t great, the production is there. Nikita Kucherov is up to his usual antics with a goal and five assists, while Corey Perry is second on the team in scoring. Brayden Point scored two goals in Game 1, but has been held goalless since. The Lightning are without Erik Cernak and they’ve felt it bad. Additionally, it’s clear Victor Hedman is playing hobbled, so keep an eye on that.
This has been a fairly even series in terms of even-strength offense. Tampa has done a decent job 5-on-5 with a 49.69 xGF% (expected goals), and the power play has thrived at 29.4%.
Losing Cernak has hurt, but the Lightning’s defense hasn’t suffered. They’re seventh with a 2.49 xGA/60, though the penalty kill has suffered at 64.7% in what has been a power-play dominated series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t been himself. After a dominant three years in goal, the Russian is posting an unlikely .856 SV%, along with a playoff worst -5.6 goals saved above expected (GSAx). It’ll be interesting to see if he bounces back with Tampa’s backs against the wall.
Toronto Maple Leafs
All of Toronto’s top guys are performing above expectations. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares are all averaging at least a point per game. Ryan O’Reilly and Morgan Rielly also have seven and six points. Everything is clicking for this team and their getting hot at the perfect time.
The Leafs are up there with the Bolts with a 50.31 xGF%. Toronto’s bread and butter was always its power play and it’s scoring at an exceptional 35.3%.
Even-strength defense has been a strength for the Leafs. While the PK hasn’t done great at 70.6%, they’re sixth with a 2.46 xGA/60.
Ilya Samsonov hasn’t been much better than Vasilevskiy. Even though he had a really solid regular season, Samsonov is posting some pretty underwhelming numbers. He’s playing to an .876 SV% and a -2.9 GSAx.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Pick
I’m fairly stunned this series is 3-1 as I was certain this was going to be 2-2 by the time Game 5 came along. I did not predict Vasilevskiy’s struggles after he was essentially unstoppable for three straight years in the postseason. Now, he’s posting career lows in this series.
Samsonov’s struggles also surprise me as he’s been a stalwart all season. Toronto’s defense has been a strength this season whereas it was a touchy subject in seasons past. Special teams will be a key part of Game 5 as there have been two or more power-play goals in every game except Game 3.
Knowing that, I think this game has a great chance of going over the total. Every game in this series has had seven or more goals and over 6.5 at -110 is incredible value. I’ve learned in the past never to bet against the Lightning, especially when they’re facing elimination. However, I also think this is a big chance for Toronto to take that next step as a franchise. Back the over.
Pick: Over 6.5
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