NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs Lightning (Wednesday, April 17)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs Lightning (Wednesday, April 17) article feature image

Credit: Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Odds

Wednesday, April 17
7 p.m. ET
Maple Leafs Odds+105
Lightning Odds-126
Over / Under
-102 / -120
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, April 17 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

Tampa Bay has lost three consecutive games, but it’s clinched a playoff spot, so this game doesn’t have ramifications. The Lightning will have a first-round matchup against their interstate rivals, the Florida Panthers.

The Maple Leafs will have their work cut out for them, facing the Bruins in the first round. Not only that, they're also riding a three-game losing streak, including a Tuesday loss to the Panthers.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews is looking to become the first 70-goal scorer since the 1992-93 season when Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny each reached 76 goals. Behind him, William Nylander is having another elite season, with 40 goals and 97 points, and Mitch Marner is having a point-per-game season.

This month, Toronto has played really well in 5-on-5 play. It’s played to the seventh-best 54.61 xGF% and the 14th-best defense with a 3.09 xGA/60.

Surprisingly, Toronto’s special teams have not been working this month. In the past 10 games, it’s scored on the power play at a 14.8% clip, and the penalty kill is at 78%.

With Joseph Woll starting last night, expect to see Ilya Samsonov tonight. He’s had such an up-and-down season and hasn’t been very reliable. He’s played to a mediocre .890 SV% and a terrible -8.1 GSAx.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov sits on 99 assists.

Many have overlooked the Lightning for whatever reason, but having three 40-goal scorers in Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos is a massive feat. Also, superstar defenseman Victor Hedman averages just under a point per game.

Tampa’s 5-on-5 play this month has been somewhat underwhelming. It’s ranked 21st in expected goals with a 49.33 xGF% and 16th in defense with a 3.11 xGA/60.

Conversely, special teams have been a strength in the past 10 games. The Bolts score on the power play at a 26% clip, and the penalty kill thrives at 89%.

I wonder who we see tonight in net — Andrei Vasilevskiy or Matt Tomkins.

We know what Vasilevskiy can do, but tonight’s game doesn’t matter, so it may be Tomkins’ crease. He’s played to backup numbers in five starts with an .891 SV% and a 0.8 goals saved above expected (GSAx).

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Betting Pick & Prediction

Both of these teams are strong in their respective situations.

Toronto is deadly on the road with a 24-10-6 record, while Tampa is 24-11-5 at home.

However, I see Toronto pulling away with this.

I also like the Leafs' odds at +105, especially given their solid road record and 2-1 season series record against Tampa.

I also think if we see Tomkins tonight, that should incentivize backing the Leafs. I can see Toronto licking its chops if Tomkins starts.

However, If it is Vasilevskiy, I see Tampa winning. Goaltending will be a massive story in tonight’s game, so wager accordingly.

Pick: Maple Leafs ML if Tomkins starts (+105) | Lightning ML if Vasilevskiy starts (-126)

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