Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:45 PM EST.
7:35 PM EST. The Lightning are the gold standard this year but let’s not award them anything yet. Yes, they’re dangerous, yes, they’re among the best and yes, they have great goaltending and star power. However, the Maple Leafs are more than capable of skating and playing with them any day of the week. Tampa is coming off a 2-0 win over Dallas in a game they had no business winning. In fact, in three of their last six games, the Lightning have mustered a mere 20, 22 and 21 shots on net respectively against San Jose, Columbus and Dallas. Over the past five weeks, Tampa ranks 20th in Corsi For % during five-on-five play.
The Maple Leafs have one of the bigger followings in the NHL. “Leaf Nation” is everywhere so when things start to go a little sour it gets blown way the f**k out of proportion. Such is the case after the Leafs got whacked by Colorado (6-3) back in Toronto on Monday night. That was the Leafs fifth loss in their last seven games. Trust us when we tell you that it’s no coincidence that was about the time that Frederik Andersen was injured. Andersen returned last game against Colorado and wasn’t sharp but it was more a case of his teammates leaving him out to dry on a bunch of those goals. The Maple Leafs were flat in that one game and that’s all there is to it. With one game under his belt since returning, expect Andersen to be better and we promise you that Toronto won’t be flat again.
The last time Toronto played in Tampa back in mid-December, they lost 4-1. That was one of the year’s most misleading scores, as Toronto dominated the Bolts from start to finish. Leafs outshot Tampa 49-21 and had three times as many High Danger Chances. That was just one game but now the Leafs are hungrier than they’ve been all year and they’re also facing a bit of adversity for the first time all year. Toronto is an elite team that is in a great spot to respond to a “lack of effort” performance and they’re also a great wager taking back any price, let alone this one.
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Toronto +126 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.52)