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. But Game 3 was an entirely different story, with the Buds bouncing back, roaring out to a 3-0 lead, and then hanging on for a crucial victory. Game 4 represents a watershed moment in what has been an incredibly tight series to date. The defending Champs either tie things up, or go down 3-1 to the Leafs, headed back to Toronto.
Tampa Bay has been seeking more 5-on-5 time, and though it’s debatable who the better side has been there, the Bolts power-play still remains an asset. Despite some inconsistency in Game 3, the Lightning still had some amazing looks with the man-advantage. 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. Look for the Lightning to get on the board with the PP at least once in Game 4.
For Toronto, they have to have escaped Game 3 feeling a bit fortunate. Goaltender Jack Campbell was exceptional at preserving a narrow lead, and the Leafs stopped generating chances at 5-on-5 for much of the second half of that game. With the Leafs losing the ability to control the matchups on the road, Sheldon Keefe is going to have to continue 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 and his line. The Matthews line didn’t fare well in Game 3, and nor did Captain John Tavares’ unit. If the Leafs can’t get more from that tandem at even strength, the Bolts should be able to get back in this series Sunday night.
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 experience. As the series shifts to Game 4, 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 4 showdown.
Andrei Vasilevskiy following a playoff loss since 2020
Save % .948
— SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (@SiriusXMNHL) 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 %||82.1||80.6|
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 4 Prediction:
While momentum swings in the NHL playoffs tend to be drastic, they also tend to rarely carry over from game-to-game. Despite the Leafs winning Game 3, don’t expect a carryover in momentum Sunday night. The Lightning strike back, they always do, and always will. There’s a reason this veteran core are back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, and look for them to assert their presence on a Toronto team that still lacks that ‘killer instinct’ in a pivotal Game 4.
Despite Toronto prevailing, the Bolts have to be feeling great about their game, especially on home ice. They dominated the second half of Game 3, and likely deserved a tying goal. Jack Campbell is an average goalie who played exceptional – that won’t continue. And Jon Cooper pressed all the right buttons and had John Tavares completely nullified, while Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli simply dominated Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner at even-strength. Another game of doing that, and the Lightning should be able to even up this series in impressive fashion.
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. Expect the Bolts to again prioritize getting Anthony Cirelli out against Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and as we saw in Game 3 – that will really help limit Toronto’s scoring attack. The Leafs have still received no depth scoring from John Tavares or William Nylander in this series, and expect Tampa’s depth options to again outplay Toronto’s.
It’s tough to knock off the champs, and with how well they’ve responded to losses in recent Cup runs, you understand why. The Bolts are 15-0 following a playoff defeat going back to 2020, and Vasilevskiy has a .948 save percentage in those games. While he wasn’t at his best in Game 3, look for another vintage showing to stymie the Leafs in Game 4.
Jon Cooper on playing the #Leafs
"Goal scoring against these guys, that's not a worry."
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) May 7, 2022
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Trends To Know:
- Maple Leafs are 4-7 in their last 10 games as a road underdog.
- Maple Leafs are 5-9 in their last 14 playoff games as an underdog.
- Lightning are 5-0 in their last 5 Sunday games.
- Lightning are 5-2 in their last 7 overall.
- Lightning are 4-1 in their last 5 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
After a few games filled with an excessive amount of power plays, look for Game 4 to tighten up as the pressure shifts back to Tampa Bay. The Leafs won’t hold a 5v5 advantage at Amalie Arena, where Cooper and the Bolts control last change. With Matthews and Marner limited again, don’t count on the Leafs finding other ways to get goals by Vasilevskiy. Expect the defending champs to take back control of the series and even it up on Sunday night, at a generous short favorite price.