Like much of the hockey world came to expect, the Lightning struck back in a big way in Game 2 vs. Toronto. Following a stunning 5-0 blowout, Tampa Bay convincingly broke down the Leafs in a crucial Game 2 setting, tying up the series at one-game apiece.
Now Tampa Bay returns home, having taken home-ice advantage and will look to take control of this series. The Bolts were clinical with the man-advantage in Game 2, going 3/7 on the power-play. Refs have called this series tight from the get-go, and as of now that seems to be playing right into the hands of Tampa’s scorching power-play. When their top unit can set up shop in the offensive zone, the shooting threats of Kucherov, Hedman, and Stamkos are all tough to contain.
And though Toronto battled in the third period, some bad bounces and undisciplined play meant their demise. Though they’ve played well and had many edges at 5-on-5, the Leafs lose the ability to control the matchups on the road, and Sheldon Keefe is going to have to get creative in terms of ensuring he gets the correct personnel out at the desired moments. One key to watch is how he manages to get the likes of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner away from the hard-checking of Anthony Cirelli.
With the Leafs having continually failed in recent post-seasons, it’s clear that a real emphasis on having that ‘killer instinct’ is something that this team has urged in the early goings of this post-season. The Lightning know how to win, while Toronto continues to keep searching for that magic recipe. As the series shifts to Tampa Bay, what can we expect to see from these talented teams? For answers to that question, keep on reading beneath the posted odds for up-to-date analysis on this heavyweight tilt between Toronto and Tampa Bay in this crucial Game 3 showdown.
Leafs gave up 2 GA on 2.27 xGA at 5v5. Tonight. PK went 3/6. Braindead penalties cost them the game.
— Editor in J (@Account4hockey) May 5, 2022
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Live Odds & Betting History
Betting odds provided by BOVADA
|TEAM DATA||MAPLE LEAFS||LIGHTNING|
|Goals Per Game||3.8||3.5|
|Goals Against Per Game||3.1||2.8|
|Shots On Goal Per Game||34.9||30.3|
|Power Play %||27.3||23.9|
|Penalty Kill %||821.||80.6|
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 3 Prediction:
Much was written after Toronto easily disposed of the Bolts in a stunning Game 1 blowout, but the back-to-back Cup champs were never going to go quietly. Tampa Bay showed their power in Game 2, and look for that to continue Friday night as the Bolts return to home ice.
Tampa is one of the best home teams in the NHL, and have been nearly unbeatable at the Amalie Arena during their previous runs to the Cup. Having last change should be very advantageous for a strategic coach like Jon Cooper, and getting Anthony Cirelli out against Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on home ice should really help limit Toronto’s scoring attack. The Leafs have gotten no depth scoring from John Tavares or William Nylander in this series, and it seems like the Bolts have the depth advantage at the moment.
There’s also the fact that despite Tampa’s power-play ranking lower than Toronto’s this season, they were simply clinical in Game 2 vs. the Leafs’ PK. Nikita Kucherov was brilliant in orchestrating high-danger chances, and if the Leafs’ continue to take silly penalties and overcompensate with uncharacteristic physical play, this veteran and crafty Bolts’ squad will continue to punish them.
In goal, the gap continues to widen as Jack Campbell was horrendous in Game 2, allowing a couple of soft goals and derailing the Leafs’ chances before the half-way point. To counter, the Bolts’ goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy delivered a vintage performance, saving a goal about expectation. Expect that form to continue on home ice, where the big Russian netminder has a career .940 save percentage on home ice. The Leafs might get chances, but Vasilevskiy is proving tough to beat.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 5, 2022
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Trends To Know:
- Maple Leafs are 3-7 in their last 10 games as a road underdog.
- Maple Leafs are 4-9 in their last 13 playoff games as an underdog.
- Lightning are 4-1 in their last 5 Friday games.
- Lightning are 6-2 in their last 8 overall.
- Lightning are 66-24 in their last 90 vs. Atlantic.
- Over is 21-5-2 in Maple Leafs last 28 road games.
- Over is 7-1 in Lightning last 8 games as a favorite.
- Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
After a couple of games filled with power plays, look for Game 3 to tighten up as the series shifts to Tampa Bay. While the Leafs have held a slight edge at 5v5, that same formula is unlikely to carry over at Amalie Arena, where Cooper and the Bolts control last change. With Matthews and Marner limited, don’t count on the Leafs finding other ways to get goals by Vasilevskiy. Expect the defending champs to take full control of the series in Game 3, at a generous home favorite price.