Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning 5/14/22 NHL Picks, Predictions, Odds
The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs meet in game seven of their NHL first round playoff series in NHL action from Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to win the series after a 4-3 OT win last time out to force a game seven. Nikita Kucherov has a team-high 8 points with 2 goals and 6 assists while Victor Hedman also has a pair of goals and 5 assists. Ondrej Palat has 5 points with 3 goals and a pair of assists while Ross Colton, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, Brandon Hagel and Alex Killorn all have 4 points. Andrei Vasilevskiy has a 3-3 record with an .885 save percentage and a 3.37 GAA this postseason.
With the Maple Leafs poised to potentially advance beyond the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 18 years with a win on Saturday, it’s not surprising that ticket prices for the big game are through the roof.
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning will be at Scotiabank Arena for Game 7 Saturday and if fans want to be in the building too they will have to pay up.
As of Friday afternoon, Ticketmaster.ca was offering a pair of tickets for $458.44 each as its cheapest option. If you had about $25,000 to spare, the best available seats could be had for just over $12,000 apiece to sit in section 108, Row 1, at centre ice.
After a potentially series-turning comeback win in Toronto, the Maple Leafs now face the final and steepest hurdle of the series as they return to Tampa looking to deliver a knockout blow to the back-to-back champs and punch their ticket to the second round for the first time since 2004 (7:30 p.m. EST, Sportsnet & CBC).
With the series trending in a dark direction through the first period of Game 5, a tremendous push in the latter half of the game allowed Toronto to turn the tide, stop the bleeding at 2-0, and complete a remarkable comeback to win the game. The Leafs‘ reward is the opportunity to pass the most difficult test of the series at Amalie Arena tonight: eliminate the Lightning with their first back-to-back playoff defeats since 2019, while simultaneously capturing their first playoff series victory since they defeated the Ottawa Senators in seven games in 2003-04.
While Game 5 continued to feature ample special-teams time, the Leafs‘ push from the second period on meant they finished with their best showing of the series at five-on-five. Two of the last three games have had over 42 minutes of five-on-five play, which is still far below the regular-season average, but it is above what we saw in the first two games of the series.
All in all, the Leafs finished with over two xGoals at five-on-five, which is their best tally of the series so far. Against a desperate Tampa team that specializes in responding with its back against the wall, a similar (but more complete over 60 minutes) effort at five-on-five will be necessary to finish the job on the road in Game 6.
After earning a key power-play goal and a four-on-four assist on Tuesday, John Tavares will be looking to build on the momentum and translate it over into production at five-on-five as this series reaches its late stages. Six Leafs players recorded more than .20 individual expected goals (all situations) in Game 5, but Tavares was not one of them. In fact, he was the only forward on the team outside of Ondrej Kase not to have a shot attempt at five-on-five.