Maple Leafs vs. Lightning NHL Pick – December 13th





<p>The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning meet at Amalie Arena for a blockbuster matchup in Florida. This is first meeting between the Leafs and Bolts this season, with Tampa winning three of four against the Leafs last season. The Lightning have looked just about unbeatable lately, as they’ve notched seven straight wins and wins in 10 of their previous 11 games. Many people will suggest that this is a preview of the Eastern Conference Final, which may be the case, but things don’t usually go according to plan. </p>
<p>Hence, the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals going to the Stanley Cup Final a season ago. Yeah, the Capitals had a team built to win a Stanley Cup, but they became known as chokers who couldn’t get it done in the playoffs for the last decade. </p>
<p>Pretty well during the entire Ovechkin era, they couldn’t get it done in the playoffs before last season. And then there’s the Knights who were an expansion team, so the odds may say that the Maple Leafs and Lightning have a good chance of meeting, the NHL is always wide open when it comes to the postseason.</p>
<p>The Lightning look like a force right now who can’t be stopped. Their offence looks unstoppable when all of their talent is working as cohesive unit. The Leafs have talent in that regard as well, but it’s hard to dispute the talent of Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, and Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov has already hit the 45-point mark. Kucherov sits behind Nathan Mackinnon and Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche as the top point getters in the league. Point isn’t far behind with 41 points on the year. Head below for our free Maple Leafs vs. Lightning pick Thursday night in Tampa. </p>
<h2 class=Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick

The Lightning do not need any help when it comes to their offence. There are teams out there who could stand to improve their forwards if they want to go to the playoffs and compete. However, nothing has to be altered in Tampa. What they likely need is a healthy Andrei Vasilevskiy. Louis Domingue has held up well in net in his spot, but I am leery of him when we start getting to the bigger games later in the season.

This is, of course, if Vasilevskiy reinjures his foot or suffers another injury. Vasilevskiy could make his return against the Leafs tonight, though nothing is guaranteed right now. It may not matter given how well their offence is playing, but in the playoffs, they’re going to need a timely effort in net. Tampa have averaged 4 goals per game and it gets better at home with 4.28 goals scored. In their previous 11 games at home, they’ve scored less than 4 goals only twice.

Frederik Andersen has a horrible history against the Lightning. He owns a 3.74 GAA and 0.878 save percentage in 9 outings. Toronto have given up just over 3 goals per game on the road this season. However, they are scoring just over 4 goals per game on the road.

I think they are going to need all of the goals they can get against the Lightning. It may not be enough, but expect them to get some pucks past Vasilevskiy or Domingue. Vasilevskiy could suffer from rust on the exterior in his first start in over a month. 888sport currently has this total at 6.5, with some shops putting up a 7. We should see a 5-3 or 5-4 final, so it may not matter, but the hook is always nice to have. Expect a fun game on Thursday night in Tampa, with snipers all over the ice at Amalie Arena.

The Bet
OVER 6.5
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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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