Lightning-Leafs could be an Eastern Conference semifinals preview. Tampa Bay already has clinched a playoff spot, could break the single-season points record of 132 (very unlikely) set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens (regarded by some as the best team in league history) and is a lock to win the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history. Another record in reach for the Lightning is the 62 wins by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings.
The Lightning should crush whichever wild-card team they face in the first round of the playoffs. That would leave a conference semifinals matchup against the Maple Leafs-Bruins winner.
Lightning vs Maple Leafs Betting Analysis
It’s the third of four meetings between these teams, with Tampa returning to Scotiabank Arena on April 4 when Tampa Bay likely has nothing to play for other than possibly league records. The clubs split the first two in Toronto, each decided by multiple goals. NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov and superstar defenceman Victor Hedman lead the Lightning with three points each vs. Toronto. Andrei Vasilevskiy started both and has a 2.04 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.
Five Leafs have two points each vs. Tampa, including John Tavares (both goals). Auston Matthews is without a point. Frederik Andersen has a 3.01 GAA and .898 SV.
Tampa Bay has won five of its past seven in Toronto.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning have lost back-to-back games just twice all season and avoided a third on Saturday with a 3-2 win over Detroit two days after a home upset loss to Minnesota. Kucherov had two goals and has set the franchise record with 110 points this season. He’s running away with the points title and the only player in triple digits.
Quebec native Vincent Lecavalier held the previous franchise record, finishing with 108 points during the 2006-07 season. Backup Louis Domingue stopped 22 shots, but it should be No. 1 Vasilevskiy here. The Russian is 31-8-4 with a 2.24 GAA (No. 1 in the NHL) and .931 SV. Tampa Bay has won five straight Monday games.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto concluded a three-game road trip at 2-1 with a 3-2 victory in Edmonton on Saturday. Tavares had a goal and two assists. He’s up to fourth in the NHL with 38 goals. On his 25th birthday, Morgan Reilly scored his 18th goal of the season. That’s the most of any blueliner in the league.
Jake Muzzin also scored and has 11 points in 19 contests since he was acquired from Los Angeles. Andersen allowed two late goals on 33 shots to improve to 33-13-4 with a 2.56 GAA and .924 SV. Nazem Kadri returned from a concussion and had an assist in 12:50 of ice time. The Leafs have won nine of their past 12 on Monday.