Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Predictions, Odds and How to Watch

How to Watch

Where: Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.

When: Thursday, January 17th, 7:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Sportsnet ON, SUN, and TVA | FAN590

Toronto Maple Leafs (Away)

Head Coach: Mike Babcock {All-Time 146-110-35 TOR}

The Toronto Maple Leafs will hope to bounce back from a somewhat sloppy loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche when they roll into Tampa, FL. to take on the dominant Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night.

Goaltender Frederik Andersen returned to the line-up against the Avalanche but following some bad bounces and a brutal giveaway by defenseman Jake Gardiner in the second period (which led to a short-handed goal by the Avs) his eagerly awaited return fell short. Andersen is still expected to start the game against Tampa Bay.

The Leafs, currently third place in the Eastern conference with 58 points, will need to be firing on all cylinders if they hope to best, well – the best. They will need to continue to play a disciplined game and stay out of the penalty box. The Leafs average only 6.6 penalty minutes per game – good for first in the league. That trend needs to continue as they risk playing against Tampa’s 29.9 per cent success rate on the powerplay – also good for first in the league.

Tampa Bay Lightning (Home)

Head Coach: Jon Cooper {All-Time 278-152-42 TBL}

8-2-0 in their last 10 games and 35-9-2 on the season, the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning look to continue their winning ways against Toronto.

Tampa Bay leads the league not only in points but in goals scored, powerplay, and shooting percentage. Forward Nikita Kucherov leads the league with 75 points. Brayden Point joins him in the top-10 with 61 points and captain Steven Stamkos makes it in the top-20 with 52 points.

The only real wildcard for the Lightning will be whether or not star defenseman Victor Hedman will be healthy for game time. On Sunday Hedman, listed as day-to-day, collided with a referee in the second period in a game against the New York Islanders and did not return. Hedman did not go through concussion protocol and it is believed that the facial injury is mostly swelling and redness with no signs of lacerations. The Lightning went on to lose that game 5-1.

The Lightning topped the Maple Leafs in their last outing in December of last year with a score of 4-1.

What’s At Stake?

Ever the bounce back team, the Maple Leafs are fully capable of handing the Lightning their first loss of the season in the double digits. The young squad will just have to remain composed and stick to a game-plan. After the ugly loss to the Avalanche, and only going 5-5 in their last ten games, the Leafs could pull off a not-so-surprising upset.

Without Hedman, the Lightning could find their D-core fading by the late second or third period. If Hedman doesn’t make it to game time, Tampa’s high offensive zone control should still be enough to get the win. A loss to the Leafs would not be considered a setback, however, as they would still remain more than 10-points ahead of the competition.

Questions to answer

Will Victor Hedman be greenlit to play?

Can the Lightning contain Matthews, Marner, and Nylander without Hedman on the back-end?

After missing eight games, can Frederik Andersen bounce back from the 6-3 loss in Colorado?

Toronto Maple Leafs Injury Report

F Tyler Ennis – IR (fractured ankle)

F Nathan Horton – IR (back)

Tampa Bay Lightning Injury Report

D Victor Hedman – day-to-day (face)

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning Predictions and Odds

Tampa Bay Lightning are a -145 favourite over the Toronto Maple Leafs.