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.
Toronto Maple Leafs (+110) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (-130)
TOR: 3-2, 4.00 GF/GP, 3.40 GA/GP
TBL: 2-3, 3.40 GF/GP, 4.00 GA/GP
Toronto enters Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead in the opening round for the third time in four years. The last two times, they dropped both Game 6 and Game 7, failing to make the second round since 2004. The tides may be turning, as John Tavares registered his first goal of the series in Game 5, and many of the Leafs’ quieter players got on the board. Late-game heroics from Auston Matthews helped propel the team to a 3-2 series lead, but they’ll face a difficult task. To win Game 6, they’ll have to defeat a team that hasn’t lost a game following a loss in 16 consecutive matches.
Jon Cooper’s comments on Jack Campbell may have struck a chord with Leafs Nation, but he should probably be worried about his goaltending problems. Andrei Vasilevskiy has looked human all series long, even in bounce-back games. If they want to force a Game 7, he’ll need to be better, and the team around him will have to tighten up defensively. They got some key goals from Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos, and they’ll hope to come out strong the same way they have in the last two games.
Tampa Bay – Win By More Than 1 Goal (-1.5, +190)
It certainly feels like this is a back-and-forth series in terms of where the odds tip towards, and it’s completely reflective of the on-ice results. In Game 5, Toronto came in at +190 to win by more than one goal, and Game 6 has Tampa Bay with the same odds. The last game was the first time all series where the result was decided by one goal, but don’t expect that to repeat. Tampa Bay is in front of their home crowd as the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions, so don’t expect them to come out quiet.
In the last two starts, the Lightning have registered five goals in the first 10 minutes into the first period. They found a way to match Toronto’s speed, and their bottom-six utilized their size and checking ability to trap the Leafs in their end and expend their energy in a defensive situation. Campbell’s save percentage has dropped to .895 since, and he was pulled once. If the Lightning want to take Game 6, they’ll need to be as opportunistic as they have been and shake Campbell’s confidence.
Total Goals Scored – Over 6.5 (-120)
The over for goals (6.5) was met in the last four games, and it feels like easy money going with it once again. Tampa Bay got shut out in Game 1, the only game of the series to miss the over, but they’ve scored 17 goals since. With Stamkos, Hedman, and Nikita Kucherov firing at will, it won’t be long before Game 6 sees goals come in bunches. The issue stemming from last game was their ability to maintain that pace through 60 minutes. It’s something the Lightning will have to avoid if they want to force a Game 7.
Toronto is matching Tampa Bay’s production on the power play, trading goals with them in each game this series. The Leafs are a dangerous machine if Tavares and Nylander can get going, as it gives the Leafs two potent lines offensively. Matthews is quickly becoming the star this team needs, and Mitch Marner is enjoying a postseason he wished came in 2021. Now is the year to put their demons to rest and sink their teeth into a fragile Lightning team. To do so, Toronto will need to win a second consecutive game against a team that is almost impossible to do so.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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