Toronto came into its opening round best-of-seven series with Tampa Bay as slight -120 favorites at most Ontario sports betting sites.
Through six games those odds appear to have been correct as the teams have traded wins and the Maple Leafs hold a 3-2 series lead in what has been a closely contested and competitive series. Toronto is currently favored at -350 on DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario to win the series as it needs to win one more game.
Winning Game 6 Thursday night will be a tough task as the two-time champions from Tampa Bay rarely lose back-to-back games and are at home for this crucial matchup. With this in mind, Ontario sports betting apps have installed the Lightning as favorites in this one.
The Leafs are slight underdogs at +115 on the moneyline. Toronto has managed a win in Tampa Bay, but it has yet to win back-to-back games in the series and will no doubt be looking to finish this one instead of having to play a Game 7.
Leafs-Lightning Series Schedule
- Game 1, May 2 in Toronto: Leafs 5, Lightning 0
- Game 2, May 4 in Toronto: Lightning 5, Leafs 3
- Game 3, May 6 in Tampa: Leafs 5, Lightning 2
- Game 4, May 8 in Tampa: Lightning 7, Leafs 3
- Game 5, May 10 in Toronto: Leafs 4, Lightning 3 (Leafs lead series 3-2)
- Game 6: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. in Tampa.
- Game 7: If necessary, Saturday, TBD, in Toronto.
Game 5 was one of the best playoff comebacks the Leafs have had in years, as they came back from an early two-goal deficit to take the lead 3-2. After Tampa Bay tied the game again, Hart Trophy favorite Auston Matthews gave the Leafs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, scoring on the rebound of a Mitch Marner shot with just over six minutes remaining.
That pair performed well offensively in the 4-3 victory, as expected, and were aided by a great performance from the previously slumping second line as John Tavares and William Nylander stepped up with a combined five points. Most importantly, Toronto proved that it could come back against a championship team like Tampa Bay, which is great for the team’s confidence moving forward.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was beatable yet again, as he has been all series long and he now sports a 3.65 GAA for the series, a far cry from his performances in prior playoff years. Even in wins he’s been beatable, so look once again to the Matthews-Marner-Michael Bunting line to lead the way. And the second line is now a threat that the opposing defense needs to respect.
Current Stanley Cup Odds
Power Plays will be Telling
The one area the Leafs have yet to excel in is on the power play, but their unit led the league in the regular season, and with Nylander and Tavares now scoring the whole unit is on a hot streak. Tampa Bay was one of the most penalized teams in the league in the regular season and that has continued in this series.
The Lightning have struggled to stay out of the box against the Leafs’ powerful attack. Toronto’s power play will only stay cold for so long, and a PP goal in Game 5 to start the comeback is a good momentum booster.
All of the patterns and storylines point to a Tampa Bay win. The teams have swapped wins all series, Tampa Bay rarely loses back-to-back games, and the Lightning are at home. But Toronto showed last game that it isn’t the same fragile group we have seen in previous seasons.
WIth Jack Campbell equaling Vasilevskiy in net and the top players on the team scoring, the Leafs have a great chance to cash in as an NHL betting underdog for Ontario sports bettors.