For the first time since 2004, the Toronto Maple Leafs can punch their ticket for the second round with a win tonight. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5, but have not won back-to-back games this series. This is where you’ll find everything, including team win odds, the over/under, and point spreads.
Brayden Point – Anytime Goalscorer (+165)
It has been a quiet series for Brayden Point, who has just one goal and one assist in five games. The Lightning were able to rely on his production in the previous two postseasons, watching him score 14 goals in 23 games each year. It’s part of the reason why the series against Toronto is so close and has the Leafs entering Game 6 with a 3-2 lead. He has 18 shots on net and averages around 20 minutes of ice time per game, so his chances will come.
In last year’s opening round against the Florida Panthers, Point was quiet in Games 5 and 6 before catching fire. After scoring in Game 6, he eventually went on a nine-game goal-scoring streak. If Toronto continues to allow him to shoot from inside the slot, it’s only a matter of time before he gets back on the board. In the last two meetings between the two teams, Point has registered six shot attempts from the inner slot, with four hitting the net. With Tampa playing at home, he’ll be a player to watch, especially if Toronto gets into more penalty trouble.
Steven Stamkos – Player Shots (Over 2.5, -180)
The one thing the Maple Leafs don’t need in Game 6 is a Steven Stamkos who is trigger-happy and looking to shoot from every angle possible. After combining for seven shots in the first four games, Stamkos registered five in Game 5, scoring once. With the way the Maple Leafs have opened up the last two games, look for Tampa Bay to continue capitalizing and finding players like Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov in the high slot.
An interesting stat line is Stamkos’ ice-time management in Game 5 compared to the rest of the series. He played a series-low 16:57 of ice time yet recorded 27 shifts, while in previous games, he received more ice time but fewer total shifts. Jon Cooper’s mindset of throwing Stamkos out there for shorter shifts appears to be paying off, as he looks revitalized and dangerous every time his skates touch the ice. Watch for him to find open areas to shoot from.
Mitch Marner – Power Play Points (Over 0.5, +140)
Last year’s shortcomings appear to be feeding motivation into the veins of Mitch Marner, who has been absolute dynamite all series long. At home, he’s registered six points in three games, all of which came at even strength. The Maple Leafs will need his production to carry over when the team crosses enemy lines, as he has just one point in two away games. The benefit for him is that whenever one player isn’t producing, another steps up to the plate and serves as Toronto’s hero of the day.
The series thus far has been heavily contested and heated as each game goes on. Both teams have taken an excess of penalties, giving each other prime opportunities to put some goals on the board. Tampa has a slight edge over Toronto in power-play percentage, sitting in fourth place with 21.4% efficiency compared to Toronto’s 16.7%. If the Leafs can get one from Marner, they’ll be fine. It would be a shame to see Toronto fall into the same trend again after a wonderful year from their star players.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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