Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Prediction, NHL Odds

Payton Matthews | Updated Apr 17, 2024

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs

It's the last chance for Auston Matthews to hit 70 goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs close their regular season schedule in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Toronto
46-26-8-2
AT
April 17, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
Amalie Arena
Tampa Bay
45-29-7-1
Puckline +1.5 -225
Moneyline +105
Over / Under o +7
Puckline -1.5 +180
Moneyline -125
Over / Under u +7

Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning may opt to rest key players Wednesday when they close the regular season with a meaningless game from Florida. The Bolts are -125 favourites to win on the NHL odds.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning NHL Betting Odds

Toronto will finish as the third-place team in the Atlantic Division and will open the playoffs at second-place Boston. Tampa Bay will finish fourth in the Atlantic but as the East’s top wild-card team and will open the playoffs at Florida. There might be some individual goals tonight for players, but it would be surprising if the respective head coaches, Sheldon Keefe and Jon Cooper, didn’t hold some guys out to ensure 100 per cent health for the start of the postseason.

Purely my speculation, but Wednesday might be Keefe’s final regular-season game as Leafs coach if they flop in the playoffs. They did finally get past Round 1 last year but then promptly lost in five to wild-card Florida. Toronto might need to get to the East Finals for Keefe to return.

The Leafs lead the season series 2-1 but lost the most recent meeting 4-1 at home on April 3. Matthew Knies (3G, 3A) leads Toronto with six points in the series, while Mitchell Marner (1G, 3A) and Auston Matthews (3G, 1A) each have four. Joseph Woll saw action in all three games and has a 1.92 GAA. Ilya Samsonov saw action in two games but not long in each and has a 14.63 GAA. Nikita Kucherov (4G, 6A) leads Tampa Bay with 10 points in the series. No. 1 goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed one goal in his win, while backup Jonas Johansson started the two losses.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe probably would have liked to rest Auston Matthews in this game and maybe some others – perhaps he still will – but it’s hard to imagine Matthews not playing in the finale as he remains one tally shy of the historic 70-goal mark after seeing his eight-game goals streak end Tuesday in Toronto’s third straight loss, 5-2 at Florida.

That result and Boston’s stunning home loss to Ottawa was very significant as it gave the Panthers the Atlantic Division title and dropped the Bruins to second, meaning they will host Toronto to start the Eastern Conference playoffs when for weeks it looks as if it would be the Leafs at Florida. Martin Jones (11-7-2, 2.70) is expected in net tonight. He hasn’t seen action since March 23 vs. Edmonton and that was less than four minutes of relief. Max Domi and Bobby McMann remain out injured. Toronto is 10-4 in its past 14 away.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning had nothing to play for Monday, and it showed in a 4-2 home loss to eliminated Buffalo – Tampa Bay’s third straight defeat. No team wants to enter the playoffs on a losing skid so maybe this game matters a bit more to the Lightning. Team captain Steven Stamkos and Markham native reached the 40-goal mark for the seventh time in his NHL career in the loss. That total is tied for the 11th most in NHL history and the second most among active players behind Alex Ovechkin (13). Stamkos is a pending free agent this summer. Nikita Kucherov was scoreless on Monday but leads the team and NHL with 142 points. In most years, Kucherov would win the Hart Trophy (he did in 2019), but Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is the heavy favourite. Kucherov is one assist shy of becoming the fifth player ever with 100 in a season. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid joined that group Monday. The Bolts will hold out No. 1 goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight and go with usual third-stringer Matt Tomkins, who is 2-2-0 with a 3.19 GAA this season. Tampa Bay is 0-5 in its past five at home vs. Toronto.

NHL Prediction: Who Will Win Maple Leafs vs. Lightning?

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