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Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Odds & Picks: How to Bet Tuesday’s Game 5

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Odds & Picks: How to Bet Tuesday’s Game 5 article feature image
Credit:

AP Photo/Derik Hamilton. Pictured: Auston Matthews

  • The Maple Leafs host the Lightning in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday night.
  • The Leafs are slight home favorites after getting smacked, 7-3, in Game 4 in Tampa.
  • Check out Carol Schram's analysis and best bet below.

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 5 Odds

Lightning Odds +115
Maple Leafs Odds -140
Over/Under 6.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

This has been a series filled with sharp turns, where no team has held momentum long enough to string together two wins in a row.

Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs return to Scotiabank Arena in a 2-2 first-round deadlock with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s now a best-of-three to determine whether the Leafs will win their first playoff series since 2004, or if the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions will win their ninth-straight series since their first-round sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019.

Here’s the latest on both teams and your best bet for the game.

Vasilevskiy and the Lightning Looking for Consistency

The Lightning have been a Jekyll-and-Hyde team so far in the first round — disappointing in Games 1 and 3 but brilliant in Games 2 and 4. In a postseason that has been sagging under the weight of whistle-happy referees, Tampa Bay’s 32 penalties drawn are the most of any team.

However, they’ve also taken 28 penalties themselves — tied for second-most. And while their five Power-Play goals in the series are two more than Toronto so far, they’ve also given up two shorthanded goals, so their net Power-Play percentage is a rather grim 13%, just below the Leafs’ 16.7%.

While 2021 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy has continued his pattern of never losing back-to-back playoff games, his numbers don’t reflect his usual level of play. He finished the 2021 playoffs with a save percentage of .937 and an amazing 26.6 Goals Saved Above Expected — more than twice as high as second-place Carey Price (12.3). This year, he’s at .888 and -0.6 Goals Saved Above Expected through his first four games.

The Lightning certainly got their offense on track in Game 4, scoring seven times, and their new third line of Brandon Hagel, Ross Colton and Nick Paul are proving to be capable stand-ins for departed Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman.

Now that this series has come down to a best two-out-of-three, Tampa Bay’s experience becomes a more important asset. The Lightning have been here before and know how to navigate these choppy waters.

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Maple Leafs Hope to Bounce Back at Home

Back on home ice, the Leafs will be hope they can engineer another momentum swing to take their third lead in the series on Tuesday.

To make that happen, they’ll need a bounce-back performance from goaltender Jack Campbell. After starting the series with a shutout, the 30-year-old allowed five goals on 34 shots in Game 2 and two goals on 34 shots in Game 3 before he was pulled after giving up five goals on just 16 shots over 26:49 on Sunday. His save percentage for the series is .889, almost identical to Vasilevskiy’s, and he has a slightly lower -1.0 Goals Saved Above Expected.

Offensively, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have done their job for Toronto, and the Leafs have gotten some contributions from bottom-of-the-lineup players like Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall.

Sheldon Keefe has done some lineup juggling and could make more changes in Game 5. Wayne Simmonds and Timothy Liljegren have been scratched for the last two games, and Kyle Clifford hasn’t played since taking a boarding major in the first period of the series, which earned him a game misconduct and subsequent one-game suspension.

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Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Pick

This series has been such a rollercoaster that it’s next-to-impossible to try to parse anything from the data that will help answer the only question that matters:

Do this year’s Leafs have the emotional fortitude to bounce back again after Sunday’s spanking? Or are the doubts from past playoff losses starting to bubble up again, while the “been there, done that” Lightning calmly go about their business?

History certainly suggests that this is when Tampa Bay starts to get into gear. But Toronto has been a good enough team this season that another swing could occur — and it is the Leafs’ habit to push their series all the way to the limit.

At plus money, it’s tempting to back the Lightning, but the over has hit in the last three games. Given the explosive offenses for both of these teams, the struggles the goalies have been having, and two empty-net goals for each side already in this series, that’s your best bet for Tuesday.

Pick: Over 6.5 (-120) | play down to -130

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