NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Lightning (April 4)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Lightning (April 4) article feature image

Via Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikita Kucherov.

  • The Lightning are short home favorites on Monday night against the Maple Leafs.
  • With Nikita Kucherov heating up for the Lightning, is there value on the home team?
  • Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and shares her best bet below.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Odds

Maple Leafs Odds+110
Lightning Odds-130
Over/Under6.5 (-105/-115)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
TVNHL Network
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

A potential Atlantic Division playoff preview is on tap Monday when the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their four-game road trip with a visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The two squads come into Monday's game deadlocked in the standings, with 93 points each in 68 games. That's good for second and third place in the division, with the Leafs holding the tiebreaker thanks to more regulation wins.

The two sides have split a pair of games in Toronto earlier this year. The Leafs grabbed a 2-1 win off William Nylander's overtime winner back on Nov. 4th, then the Lightning won 5-3 on December 9th.

Here's the latest on both clubs and your best bet for the game.

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Maple Leafs Offense Carrying Them

The big news for the Leafs is in net, where Jack Campbell returned for Toronto's 6-3 win in Philadelphia on Saturday after missing 10 games with a rib injury.

Campbell started the season well but began to struggle as far back as December. For the year, he's at -2.5 Goals Saved Above Expected, with a .914 Save Percentage and 2.66 Goals Against Average.

Of course, Toronto's explosive offense can often paper over any shortcomings in net. Auston Matthews leads the NHL with 51 goals, and as a team, Toronto sits second in goals per game (3.76), first on the Power Play (29.8%) and tied for third in Expected Goals Scored per 60 at 5-on-5 (2.86). Even with their goaltending struggles, they still rank fourth in Expected Goals Percentage at 5-on-5, controlling 55.2% of the scoring.

As far as the team's health, Toronto has a couple of gaps on the blue line with Jake Muzzin and Rasmus Sandin sidelined with injuries. Forward Ondrej Kase is also out with a concussion, and while William Nylander missed practice on Sunday due to illness, he's expected to suit up against the Lightning.

Lightning Heating Up

The Tampa Bay Lightning spent the better part of March on the road and went through a mid-month rough patch with just two wins in eight games. Now back into a home-heavy section of their schedule, the Lightning have returned to their winning ways.

They're 4-0-1 in their last five games but let a point slip away when they lost 5-4 to Montreal in a shootout on Saturday.

As two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, the Lightning aren't as worried about putting up elite regular season stats as they are about winning four more playoff series starting in May.

They haven't been quite as consistently impressive as teams like Colorado or Florida, but they're still tied with the Leafs for fourth overall in points percentage (.684) and sit sixth in Expected Goals Share at 5-on-5, at 53.48%.

And unlike the Leafs, the Lightning can rely on a Vezina Trophy winner in net. Andrei Vasilevskiy sits at a .919 Save Percentage and 2.37 Goals Against Average for the year, but his 26.1 Goals Saved Above Expected tell you how important he is to his team's success.

The Lightning are also healthy, although they'd certainly love to see more offense out of some of their biggest stars. Nikita Kucherov has just 12 goals in 33 games so far this season but has been heating up lately. He has a goal and seven assists in his last three games.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Pick

With a 21-6-5 record at Amalie Arena this season, the Lightning are a tough out on home ice. And with the possibility looming that these two clubs will square off in the first round of the playoffs, both sides will be taking this game seriously as a chance to test themselves.

Such matchups often mean low-scoring events, but that shouldn't be the case here. Toronto has averaged six goals a game in its last four outings, while Tampa Bay is at 4.25.

With Kucherov rounding back into form and Vasilevskiy also playing well, the advantage goes to the home side in what should be an entertaining clash.

Pick: Lightning Moneyline (-130) | Play down to -145.

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