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Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game 6 NHL Picks: Toronto Looks For 1st Series Win Since 2004

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game 6 NHL Picks: Toronto Looks For 1st Series Win Since 2004
Brayden Point #21 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck against Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during Game Five of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Photo by Claus Andersen / Getty Images via AFP

The Tampa Bay Lightning face just their second elimination game since 2019. Can Tampa Bay force a Game 7 at home against Toronto? Read on for our Maple Leafs-Lightning picks.

The Maple Leafs took out some of their frustrations in Game 5, overcoming a 2-0 first-period deficit en route to a 4-3 victory to take a 3-2 series lead. However, they still have their first-round demons to exorcise and it won’t be an easy task in Game 6.

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning are undefeated after a loss in the playoffs over the last two years. This series has gone back and forth with both teams trading wins. In fact, the teams have traded victories since the start of the regular season.

Here are my picks and predictions for Thursday’s NHL matchup between the Maple Leafs and Lightning (odds via BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game Info

Date/Time: Thursday, May 12, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: TBS, CBC, TVAS, SN, BSSUN
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay, FL

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Odds Analysis

The line for this game has gone back and forth, but the Lightning are between -130 (DraftKings) and -138 (FanDuel) after opening at -134. Tampa Bay has received most of the tickets and handle in this one.

The total opened at 6.5 with the Over paying 6.5 and Under at +100. That's moved to seven at FanDuel (Over +120, Under -148), but is at 6.5 at most other boots. You can get Over 6.5 (-120) at BetMGM and Under 6.5 (+105) at DraftKings.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Picks

  • Lightning (-130 via DraftKings) ★★★★
  • Over 6.5 (-120 via BetMGM) ★★★★
  • Victor Hedman Over 2.5 shots (-170 via DraftKings) ★★★★

SEE ALSO: All NHL Picks

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Predictions

Lightning (-120)

This is as close to a five-star pick as I'm going to get in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hell, I almost locked it in.

Vasilevskiy and the Lightning are not going to lose two straight games, especially with the second being at home. This is Tampa Bay's first non-Game 7 elimination scenario since getting swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019. They haven't lost very often in the playoffs recently, especially at home.

The Maple Leafs have pushed them pretty hard, and are one of the best teams Tampa Bay has faced in recent postseasons. However, I don't see Toronto getting this done in six. The Lightning outshot the Maple Leafs 35-25 last game and took it to 'em in Tampa Bay in Game 4.

Vasilevskiy and the Bolts will win Game 6 to force a Game 7 on Saturday in Toronto.

Over 6.5 (-120)

The last four games in the series went Over the total, and Game 1 only stayed Under because the Lightning were kept off the scoreboard. In fact, seven of the last eight meetings dating back to the regular season have gone Over the total.

No matter which way this game goes, the Over is a strong play. I could see the Lightning coming out hot and possibly chasing Jack Campbell again. On the other hand, the Maple Leafs could pull it off - and in that scenario, I see a high-scoring game whether it be due to 5-on-5 play, special teams, or an empty-net goal (or two).

Hedman Over 2.5 shots (-170)

I've been riding this prop recently and it's been largely successful. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had eight shots on goal last game after two in Game 4, which broke a 12-game streak. However, it wasn't for a lack of trying. The defenseman had eight shot attempts in that game but only two hit the net.

Hedman had three-plus SOG in four of five games this series. Tampa Bay will be firing pucks on net in an elimination game and that includes Hedman, who quarterbacks the Bolts' top power-play unit.

Where to Bet on Maple Leafs-Lightning Picks

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

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Maple Leafs-Lightning picks made on 5/12/2022 at 3:37 a.m. ET.