Pretend for a moment that you are part of the NHL schedule-making team.
You have four games on the slate for today’s NHL games and you need a centerpiece match to draw viewers and media attention. What are the elements you need to select a matchup?
Two division rivals. Check.
A recent playoff history that has bitterness on both sides. Check.
Big-name stars. Check.
High-end offensive talent. Check.
So, yes, all of the known variables certainly made it logical that Monday’s night’s Tampa Bay Lightning-Toronto Maple Leafs game was designed to be the NHL’s Game of the Night prior to the start of the season.
But what was not factored – and frankly couldn’t be factored – was the unknown unknowns.
Lightning vs Maple Leafs Best Bets
Without No. 1 goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is recovering from back surgery, Tampa Bay’s 36 goals allowed are ninth-most goals in the NHL and its 3.27 goals allowed per game average is tied for 11th-most.
Which means the Lightning are forced to engage in shootouts until Vasilevskiy returns sometime in December. Tampa Bay has scored 40 goals in 11 games, an average of 3.64 that is seventh-most in the NHL. But it bears noting that in Tampa Bay’s 11 games, only one (the 4-3 win over Vancouver on Oct. 19) has been against a top-10 defensive team in the league.
Still, that is far better than the maelstrom currently enveloping the Maple Leafs.
As noted in our Sabres-Maple Leafs preview on Saturday, the Leafs have been criticized for not replying physically to Boston left winger Brad Marchand for his role in injuring Toronto defenseman Timothy Liljegren in the Bruins’ 3-2 shootout win Thursday night.
Prior to Toronto’s home game against the Sabres on Saturday, Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he “hated” the lack of a physical response on the part of the Leafs toward Marchand, and enforcer Ryan Reaves explained why he was unable to avenge Liljegren.
“I guess he was lucky I was not on the ice with him.”
Reavo shared his thoughts on Brad Marchand after the Liljegren injury 👀 pic.twitter.com/dTZqmwgXiM
— Spittin’ Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) November 5, 2023
None of which is great. And it somehow got worse as the Leafs dropped a 6-4 decision to the Sabres, their fourth straight loss.
- NHL Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning +130
Lightning vs Maple Leafs Game Information
- Game: Lightning (5-3-3) vs Maple Leafs (5-4-2).
- Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Day/Time: Monday, Nov. 6, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Lightning vs Maple Leafs Live Stream: NHL.TV
Lightning vs Maple Leafs Betting Lines
Questions Of The Day
Which team will have the most takeaways in the game?
Toronto’s 82 takeaways is tied for seventh-most in the NHL. Tampa’s 51 is second-fewest. Go with the Leafs.
What is the most important factor to consider when evaluating NHL betting lines for Monday’s game?
Toronto has lost four in a row and has only scored 2.25 goals per game in the stretch.