The Guide to Thursday

1….2….3 in a row I say?

Toronto Maple Leafs v. Tampa Bay Lightning (@Air Canada Centre; Toronto, Ontario)

Toronto is looking hotter than ever and is looking at this one as a must win to clinch a playoff berth and target the last 2 games as a way to move up to a potential 2 seed in the Atlantic division.  With the young talent of Nylander, Matthews and Marner this team looks fresh and energetic every game.  The Leafs are (7-2-1) in their last 10 while the lightning have been (5-4-1) in their last 10.  The last time these two met on March 16th the Leafs won 5-0; Vasilevskiy was yanked after allowing 4 goals on 15 shots while Andersen posted a 33 save shutout. Vasilevskiy will be in net for the Lightning and he has been all but good on the road with a (7-8-3) record.  On the other end of the ice Frederik Andersen has been red hot since the beginning of March posting a (9-1-2) record with a .923 save percentage.  Playoff atmosphere will be intense for a Toronto home town who hasn’t seen their beloved Leafs in the playoffs since 2013.  Roll with the young guns with their first taste of serious playoff atmosphere to pull ahead of Tampa Bay and win this one.

PICK: Toronto Maple Leafs to win in regulation. (+110)

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The Guide to Monday

After a brief St. Patty’s Day absence, lets get back on track.

Toronto Maple Leafs v. Boston Bruins (@ Air Canada Centre; Toronto, Canada)

After looking at this slate tonight there is no doubt that this will be the best game tonight, with the Bruins a game in hand and 3 points up on the Maple Leafs both teams will be scratching and clawing at points in these last 11 or 12 games. The Leafs have not made the playoffs since 2013 and sit in the 2nd wild card spot to the Rangers, however this game plays a huge swing for them as they could steal 2 potential points from the Bruins while adding to their point total as well overall leading to a 4 point swing for either side tonight with how the playoff picture is looking. What’s interesting about this fixture is the goaltending matchup.  Frederik Andersen has gone 4-1-2 with a 1.99 GAA and .940 SV% in seven March starts and tonight he faces the Bruins for the fourth time—he is 3-0-0 with a 2.33 GAA and .929 SV% in the first three (via. CSN’s Joe Haggerty). Rask was pulled after he allowed five goals on 17 shots in the Bruins’ loss in Edmonton last Thursday. Despite the rough loss, Rask is expected to start both games of the Bruins’ key back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday. Rask is 0-1-0 with a 4.69 GAA And .788 SV% in two starts against the Maple Leafs this season (via. TSN’s Mark Masters). In the tendency of streakiness when it comes to goaltending, this is a great target match-up for a great line with a home team in need of a win and the playoffs on the line.

PICK: Toronto Maple Leafs to win (Even)

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