NHL Picks: Bet a More Consistent Maple Leafs to Win Against Lightning

Bruce Webster

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 1:09 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 1:09 PM GMT

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to bounce back from home loss to the Capitals, while the Toronto Maple Leafs come in off a 3-2 home win over the Devils. Check our NHL pick here.

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NHL Pick: Maple Leafs +118
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

Steven Stamkos is in Long Scoring Drought
That not something that is said all too often, but right now it is happening as he has failed to score a goal in eight straight games, which is his longest drought since 2009. Steven Stamkos has 287 goals in his career, including 11 this year and is off a 2014 season, which saw him put up 43 goals. Making it worse is the fact that he has gotten off just five total shots in his last 6 games, which is way off from his career average of 3.21 shots per game. The Lightning are down as a team in scoring as they rank 27th in the league at 2.3 gpg, after ranking 8th in scoring last year. The Lightning clearly need more from Stamkos, who is tied with Nikita Kucherov for the team lead in scoring.   

On defense the Lightning have allowed just 2.2 gpg on the year, which is 2nd in the league, but they have struggled on the penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22% of their chances, which is 25th in the league. Ben Bishop has been strong in goal for the Lightning with a 1.96 GAA and has allowed a total of just seven goals in his last five games. Still overall his record is 12-11 because he just hasn’t been give much goal support. He will start in Columbus on Monday night, so starting tonight will be Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is just 2-4 with a 2.76 GAA n the year and is 0-1 with a 3.19 GAA vs the Maple Leafs in his career.

 

Nazem Kadri Lifts Leafs Over Devils in Shootout
The Toronto Maple Leafs come in having won two games in a row as they followed up their 4-1 road win over St Louis with a 3-2 home win over New Jersey in a shootout. P.A. Parenteau got the scoring started for the leafs in the 1st period and with the game knotted at one it was James Van Riemsdyk that untied it in the second. The Devils tied it later in the period before the Nazem Kadri scored the deciding goal in the shootout to give the Leafs the win. This is only the third time this year that Toronto has won two games in a row and just once have they pushed the streak to three.

Taking the win in the game was rookie Garrett Sparks, who stopped 25 Devil shots to push his record to 3-1 with a 2.21 GAA on the year and in his young career. James Reimer will get the start in this one and is 7-8 with a solid 2.01 GAA on the year. Reimer is just 3-6 with a 2.87 GAA in his career vs the Lightning. The Leafs check in at 28th in the league in scoring, putting up just 2.2 gpg, while also ranking 18th in power play conversions, converting on 18.2% of their chances. At the defensive end of the Ice they haven’t been terrible, ranking 15th in goals allowed (2.6 gpg) and 21st in penalty kill (79.3).

Must Read: Learn How to Pick Winners for NHL

Trends
Tampa Bay is:

1-8 in their last nine games playing on 0 days rest

1-7 in their last eight in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation

Toronto is:

38-15 in their last 53 home games vs. a team with a losing road record against the NHL odds

22-8-1 the last 31 home games in this series

 

Betting Analysis
Last week I played against a hot Los Angeles team that was in just in a bad spot and taking on a poor Buffalo team that was struggling and that play won. I will come right back with a play against a team that is just in a horrible scheduling spot here. The Lightning will be playing this game with no rest and are just 1-8 in that situation of late. They are also taking on a team that has had a week off to get ready for this one. Now making matters worse for Tampa Bay is the fact that they have a revenge game vs Washington on deck and the fact that they just haven’t played well in this building over the years. This is a complete flat spot for Tampa Bay and a team like Toronto that is just trying to build confidence should take advantage with a solid win here. Take Toronto as your NHL pick tonight.

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