NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Lightning (Saturday, April 29)
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Maple Leafs
- The Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Tampa Bay to face the Lightning in Game 6 on Saturday night.
- This has been a high-scoring series, and our expert expects more of the same tonight.
- Tony Sartori previews the game and shares his best bet for Leafs vs Lightning Game 6 below.
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game 6 Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-109|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of this NHL Eastern Conference series on Saturday evening.
Goal scoring has certainly been a non-issue in this series thus far, with six or more total goals scored in each of the first five games.
Will this trend continue, or can the goaltending step up in Game 6?
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as my Maple Leafs vs. Lightning betting pick.
Maple Leafs Counting on Their Stars
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ trend of high-scoring outings stretches back to the regular season, with six or more total goals scored in 17 of their past 24 games.
Toronto’s success hinges on its dynamite offense, something it will surely lean on in an attempt to clinch a berth into the second round for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Led by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, the Leafs finished the regular season ranked seventh in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at 5-on-5.
This explosive offense transitioned smoothly into the postseason, which is a product of the big-time performances by those three stars, as well as Ryan O’Reilly and Morgan Rielly.
However, defensively, things have not gone as smoothly for this group. While the defense is deep, it features six guys who are all solid but not spectacular in their own end of the ice.
Toronto attempted to bolster this blue line with the acquisitions of Luke Schenn and Jake McCabe at the trade deadline, but the results have not been there. Since the Christmas break, the Leafs rank in the bottom half of the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5.
Defense Costing the Lighting
Like Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to ride a flurry of high-scoring affairs. There have now been six or more total goals scored in 14 of their past 19 games.
At 5-on-5 this season, Tampa finished eighth in the league in xGF/60, which should not be surprising given the immense amount of scoring talent in the top six of the forward group.
With that said, this team’s biggest weakness is a thin blue line, which is looking like the main reason for its downfall if it’s unable to mount the comeback in this series.
After a below-average regular season for Victor Hedman, he has stepped up in a big way in these playoffs. His partner, Nick Perbix, has also performed tremendously in the defensive zone.
However, outside of those two guys, the rest of this defensive corps has struggled in their own zone.
These results should not be all that surprising given that Tampa ranked just 19th in the league this season in xGA/60 at 5-on-5.
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Pick
With Ilya Samsonov slated to go against Andrei Vasilevskiy, goaltending is the biggest concern working against the Over in Game 6.
Both guys put together tremendous regular seasons with save percentages (SV%) north of .914.
However, the first five games of this series have not gone smoothly for either guy. Samsonov possesses a .886 SV% and 3.61 goals against average (GAA) through the first five games while Vasilevskiy returns a troubling .870 SV% and 3.90 GAA.
Granted, it’s tough to blame either of these netminders due to the elite offenses and below-average blue lines in front of them.
Pick: Over 6 (-130) | Play up to -145
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