Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
|Date & Time||Thursday January 17, 2019, 7:30 PM (EST)|
401 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602, USA
Tampa Bay -147; O/U: 6.5
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in Florida on Thursday night in a show down of two Atlantic division rivals that have championship aspirations this season.
The Leafs look to pull off the road upset against one of the league’s best teams in what is certainly a marquee show down between two of the best rosters the NHL has to offer. The Buds have struggled against Tampa Bay over the last couple of seasons as they are 1-5 in their last 6 meetings against the Bolts and are a woeful 2-8 in their last 10 trips to Tampa Bay and the odds makers are expecting those trends to continue as the Lighting are favored at home in this heavyweight tilt. The Leafs are 10-1 in their last 11 game splaying on 2 days of rest and are 22-6 in their last 28 games when their opponent allows 2 goals or fewer in their previous game but the Lightning are the favorite to win the Cup for a reason. Frederik Andersen is expected to get the nod in the Toronto crease as he will face off against Andrei Vasilevskiy who will counter for the Lightning.
The Lightning have turned themselves into one of the best teams in the NHL over the last few seasons and while they have undergone a shift in management after Steve Yzerman stepped down the team still has his fingerprints all over it and they are one of the deepest rosters in the league. Tampa has done a great job of getting production out of afterthought players that have come up through their system and if they can continue their keen eye of identifying talent they are going to be capable of great things in the NHL salary cap era. Tampa is 56-20 in their last 76 home games and 44-16 in their last 60 games against the Atlantic division and with their recent track record against the Leafs they should feel confident matching up on home ice at a relatively cheap price.
The Leafs are 2-5 in their last 7 games overall and 15-6 in their last 21 road games while the Lightning are 40-12 in their last 52 games against the Eastern Conference and are 5-1 in their last 6 against the Leafs. Toronto’s top offensive guns have gone quiet and their defense has been suspect and on the road this is a tough spot for them against one of the league’s top teams.