The Toronto Maple Leafs needed a goal with a minute left in regulation and another score in overtime to win 4-3 in Game 3 on Saturday to grab a 2-1 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 4 odds are now available at FanDuel.
If the Lightning had been awarded a third-period goal that hit the back of the net but was waved off by the referee, Tampa Bay likely would be up 2-1 and still holding the home-ice edge.
Until now, the Leafs were largely considered the more desperate team considering their recent playoff history of being eliminated in the first round six straight years. Now it looks like the Lightning has that look of desperation — along with intense anger.
Tempers erupted in a big way in Game 3 when Tampa Bay’s leading scorer, Brayden Point, was shoved into the boards by the Leafs’ Morgan Rielly, which prompted an ice full of fights, including Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Toronto’s Auston Matthews.
Toronto’s radio commentators noted that might have been the first time two players who have scored 60 goals in a season fought each other.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 4 Betting Lines & Series Price
Toronto entered this series as a -170 favorite to advance to the league quarterfinals, but the number lengthened to +110 after the Leafs absorbed a 7-3 loss at home in Game 1.
But in the wake of getting even with a 7-2 victory in Game 2 and then taking charge of the series on Sunday, the Leafs are now a -415 favorite (FanDuel), with the Lightning at +315.
Tampa Bay figures to tie the series again Monday night based on their -250 odds (Caesars Sportsbook) in Game 4. Here are Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 4 odds at top-rated online sportsbooks.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Betting News
–Defensemen Eric Cernak will remain out after taking an elbow to the head on an interference penalty in Game 1. But key defenseman Victor Hedman returned to the lineup Saturday and played 32-plus minutes in Game 3 after incurring an undisclosed injury early in Game 1, and sitting out the second meeting of the series.
–Without Cernak and Hedman in front of him to help, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who helped propel the Lightning to Cup titles in 2020 and 2021, gave up all seven goals to Toronto in Game 2. His goals-against average in these playoffs is 4.22 per game.
–Winger Mitch Marner, who had a team-high 99 points this season, has eight points in the postseason, one behind league leader Leon Draisaitl of Edmonton. But Marner has played one fewer game. Marner had three assists in the opener, two goals and an assist in Game 2, and two more assists Saturday.
–Veteran center John Tavares had his first career hat trick in 46 career postseason games in Game 2, including one on the power play. He led the team in the regular season with eight power-play scores. But in Game 3 what a turnabout as he went scoreless with a minus-3 number.
–In the regular season, Leafs goalie Ilya Samsanov ranked fifth with a goals-against mark of 2.33, with a .919 save percentage, tied for sixth. But he did not face the Lightning until Tuesday night. He was yanked after 40 minutes having yielded six goals, with four coming on the power play. He hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in either of the next two games.
–Top-line forward Michael Bunting has one game remaining in his three-game suspension for an illegal hit on Cernak in the opener.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Betting Trends
Here we have included some Lightning vs. Maple Leafs betting trends, so you can better understand which side has the advantage coming in.
–Since the 2020 postseason, the Tampa Bay has lost nine playoff games in overtime, including Saturday’s defeat. In the previous eight instances, Tampa Bay rebounded to win its next game seven times, with Vasilevskiy getting a shutout in three of them.
–This marks the fourth instance in the past two seasons Tampa Bay has trailed in a series 2-1. They rallied fo defeat Toronto in seven games in their first-round series in 2022, then got past the NY Rangers in six games of the league semifinals, but fell to Colorado in six games in the Cup Finals.
–The Lightning won five of six playoff series the previous two seasons when not having the home-ice edge, losing only in last year’s finals.
–Tampa Bay had the second best home record in the league this season at 28-8-5 before losing Saturday.
–This is the fifth time in the past seven postseasons that the Leafs have held a 2-1 series advantage. Toronto was overtaken each time, including last year by Tampa Bay.
–Toronto has won seven of its past eight road games. The only loss was against Presidents Trophy-winning Boston.
–Toronto hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. That 55-season drought is the longest for any team in NHL history. In the ’67 finals, the Leafs lost their opener at Montreal by four goals, but went on to clinch the Cup in Game 6 at home.
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Prop Bets
If you have scanned the Lightning vs. Maple Leafs odds and are still looking for more action, consider the following prop bets.
Tampa Bay’s Stamkos will score three-plus goals in the series (+132 FanDuel). Stamkos, the team captain, showed off his intense desire to win in that late fight with Matthews. Stamkos hasn’t scored a goal yet, but has two assists. With this series likely going to at least six games, he’ll get plenty of chances.
Exact Series Results
Lightning wins series 4-2: +880
Lightning wins series 4-3: +590
Maple Leafs win series 4-1: +198
Maple Leafs win series 4-2; +265
Maple Leafs win series 4-3: +350
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Prediction
The Lightning surely will come out playing like their beards are on fire, led by Stamkos, in an effort to get even in the series.
The return of Hedman in Game 3 contributed to the Lightning holding Toronto to only 27 shots in almost four periods of play. That came on the heels of allowing 37 without him a game earlier.
Suddenly, the Lightning’s odds of winning the series look extra tempting. Maybe even their +3700 (FanDuel) number for taking home the Cup for the third time in four seasons? As the saying goes, don’t poke the bear, and that’s what Toronto has done.
How to Watch Game 4 Lightning vs. Maple Leafs
Date: Monday, April 24, 2023
Game time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Amalie Arena
TV: Bally Sports