Tampa Bay Lightning (37-24-7) at Toronto Maple Leafs (36-25-8)
|Date & Time||Wednesday March 19, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs -116 / Tampa Bay Lightning +105 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Maple Leafs return home a night after dropping a tough game to the Detroit Red Wings as they host the Lightning at the Air Canada Centre.
Toronto skated into Joe Louis Arena last night looking for a huge win against their division rivals but instead dropped their second straight game and now find themselves in fifth place with the rest of the contenders on their heels. Toronto has struggled to find any confidence without Jonathan Quick in the lineup and their top line of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak has gone cold at the worst possible time. The Buds must shake off last night’s loss and focus on the Lightning who are right in the mix in the Eastern Conference and will come into this game well rested. The Leafs are a game or two from going up or down significantly which goes to show how close the race is in the Eastern Conference playoffs but you can be certain they would like to lock up the third seed and set up a more favourable playoff spot so they’ll have to turn things around in a hurry.
The Lightning continue their improbable season on the road tonight against one of their divisional foes and with the way Ben Bishop has played in the Tampa goal this season you can have a sense of confidence every single night with the Lightning. Tampa created headlines when they traded Martin St. Louis but the former disgruntled captain has yet to score with his new team while Ryan Callahan has been a great asset for the Lightning. The Bolts will look for their fourth win in a row and 38th of the season against a Leafs team who has dropped two straight but has played very well on home ice this season. This is a good spot for Tampa Bay as Steven Stamkos and the like love playing in Toronto and the Leafs are playing in a back to back but Toronto’s record at the ACC has me leaning the other way. Regardless of the outcome I think we see a relatively tight game between two new rivals battling it out for a playoff spot and I don’t think either team or either goaltender will make many mistakes.