Thursday, January 17, 2019

NHL Thursday: Lightning Takes on Maple Leafs

Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey

Leafs Look to Catch NHL Leading Lightning





The top team in the NHL gets set to take on their Atlantic Division rivals. The Tampa Bay Lightning welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to town Thursday night.  The Leafs have gone through some recent struggles that has led to a .500 record over their past 10 games. Meanwhile, the Lightning have continued with dominant play, and now have a sizable 16-point lead in the Atlantic Division.





TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TVA, Sportsnet Ontario (Toronto), FS Sun (Tampa Bay); Line: Lightning -138; O/U: 6.5 Over -141.





Toronto’s recent struggles have largely been due to inconsistent play from their forwards. It may seem strange to target an offense that scores an average of 3.58 goals per game. Some of Toronto’s key contributors are in significant funks. The most pronounced is star winger, William Nylander. After missing the majority of the first half of the season due to a lockout, has managed just one goal and two assists in 17 games played. They’ll need more from Nylander and several other forwards to pull themselves out of this slump.  





The Lightning, however, are torching their NHL oppositions to a tune of 4.00 goals scored per game. This is tops in the league. Game after game, Nikita Kucherov is leading the Bolts at the offensive side of the ice. They’ll be keen to extend their lead against a Leafs team that needs a win badly.





This, That and a Dart Throw





The Maple Leafs are 28-15-2 on the season. While point leader Mitch Marner (59) continues to post impressive numbers with goals in three straight games, many of the other top offensive threats have cooled off. John Tavares has a team-high 29 goals, but has been kept off the scoresheet in three of the last four games. Fellow center Austin Matthews managed one goal in the past 10 games, despite recording nine points in that span. Toronto is also looking for more from speedy forward William Nylander, who has one goal and two assists while a minus-6 in 17 games since holding out and signing a six-year, $45 million contract.





The Lightning are 36-9-2 on the season. All-Star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is 7-0-0 with a .975 save percentage. He has three shutouts after losses this season. He had a 35-save performance at Dallas recently. Right wing Nikita Kucherov, the league leader with 75 points, has been kept off the scoresheet in consecutive games for the third time this season.





PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3





NHL Betting Odds & Trends






Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
Toronto is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games
The Maple Leafs are 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Toronto is 15-6 SU in its last 21 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 6 games on the road
The Maple Leafs are 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Tampa Bay
Toronto is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Tampa Bay
The Maple Leafs are 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay
Toronto is 2-8 SU in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Toronto's last 11 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning are 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Tampa Bay is 19-3 SU in its last 22 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tampa Bay's last 5 games
The Lightning are 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games at home
Tampa Bay is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The Lightning are 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Toronto
Tampa Bay is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Toronto
The Lightning are 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Toronto
Tampa Bay is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games when playing at home against Toronto
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Tampa Bay's last 11 games when playing at home against Toronto

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