2022 Stanley Cup Playoff P Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Saturday, April 30, 2022
author picture Gabriel Martim
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2022 Stanley Cup Playoff P Maple Leafs Vs Lightning

In the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs‚ the Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are the two-time defending champions and have a three-line-deep lineup. But who will win? Which team will be the favorites? The following is a look at what will happen in this series. The Lightning are the favorites‚ but the Maple Leafs will have a few things on their side as well.

Toronto Maple Leafs face Tampa Bay Lightning in first round of 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Lightning will be favored to win the first round‚ but the Toronto Maple Leafs are the better team on paper. Both teams are stacked with star players‚ but the Maple Leafs may have the edge in a few key areas. While the Lightning may have the best player in the world‚ the Leafs have developed a strong depth chart during the regular season and in the playoffs. In the last four meetings‚ the Leafs have won twice‚ and the Lightning have won two times. The Lightning won the most recent match‚ 8-1 at home. Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews led the Leafs in scoring against the Lightning. In Tampa‚ Steven Stamkos had 37 points‚ and Ondrej Palat had six. In the net‚ Toronto will look to Jack Campbell‚ who has recovered from a rib injury. However‚ Andrei Vasilevskiy is the better goaltender. The Toronto Maple Leafs are second in the Atlantic Division and feature 60-goal forward Auston Matthews. They haven't won a playoff series since 2004 and have been bounced in the first round each of the last five years. The Leafs entered the postseason with a three-game winning streak‚ but haven't beaten the Lightning in the postseason since 2004. Tampa Bay won 2-1 in the regular season. The Toronto Maple Leafs host Game 2 on Wednesday‚ while the Tampa Bay Lightning host Game 4. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Toronto. Game 3 will be held in Tampa on Thursday‚ while the Lightning host Game 4 on Friday. Toronto hosts Game 6 on May 10 in Tampa. The series is scheduled to last six games‚ including Game 7.

Maple Leafs have three lines deep

Toronto's third line is the most interesting part of this lineup‚ as it hasn't provided much offense this year‚ but the Maple Leafs' young scoring talent is intriguing. With a top line that includes Mitch Marner and Tyler Johnson‚ the third line is not much of a liability‚ either. If they can shut down the opposing top lines‚ it'll make a big difference. And if they can shut down Auston Matthews‚ it'll shut down a major part of their offensive production. The third line‚ with the addition of Ilya Mikheyev and Riley Nash‚ should be a concern‚ but it has potential to make a difference in the playoffs. While Toronto's odds of reaching the playoffs remain low‚ the team's chances of winning the Stanley Cup are dramatically improved if they finish second or third in the Atlantic Division. This is especially true for their chances of finishing in a division seed rather than a wildcard. But a healthy Kase and Ondrej Panik should help with this. This is why Keefe has opted for three lines deep in his lineup. While the Bozak line is the only one that isn't going to go deep‚ it has shown major improvement this postseason. While Tyler Bozak has been criticized in the past for being undervalued‚ he has been helped by Marner and JvR‚ two of the Leafs' top any-strength weapons. The Matthews line will get the Leafs into the offensive zone. After the postseason‚ the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to make a decision on the captain for the team. Matthews‚ Mitch Marner‚ and John Tavares all have high-end contracts‚ but it's also important to keep a deep core behind these guys. Without the captains‚ it's impossible for the team to compete for a Stanley Cup. This is the time to make a good decision.

Lightning have two-time defending champion

Tampa Bay has a long history of being a championship contender‚ but the current roster is a little different than it was last season. In their last two championship runs‚ the Tampa Bay Lightning's defense accounted for more goals than the team's offense. Their offense is only slightly better than the league average this season‚ and while the Lightning's defense has remained consistent‚ their offense has struggled to match the teams's strong play. The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched a playoff spot for the seventh time in eight seasons. They are aiming to become the first team to win three Stanley Cups in a row since the New York Islanders in the early 1980s. The Lightning returned a majority of their regular season roster and added key players in hopes of capturing their second straight title. However‚ the Lightning will have to overcome a two-time defending champion in the 2022 playoffs to claim the title. The Lightning will have to face the Carolina Hurricanes and Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoff P. Both teams have set new team records this season and will be the favorite. But the Hurricanes and Leafs are both capable of winning the Cup. If they play well in the next round‚ they could become a dynasty. Only four teams have won three Stanley Cup titles in a row. The Tampa Bay Lightning have an elite roster with multiple playoff contenders. The roster includes Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov‚ who led the league in scoring two years in a row. Brayden Point is another player who is unlikely to leave the lineup. While the two-time defending champion has the edge in playoff history‚ the Lightning will not go down without a fight.

Matthews has 60 goals in a season

Auston Matthews became the first player in a decade to score 60 goals in a season when he scored his second goal in overtime of a game against the Red Wings on Tuesday night. Matthews' 56 goals gave him 60 in 73 games‚ surpassing Rick Vaive's previous record of 55. He also set a record for the most goals scored in a season by a United States-born player in NHL history‚ passing Kevin Stevens (1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins) and Jimmy Carson (87-88 Los Angeles Kings). The Toronto Maple Leafs have now won two out of their last three games‚ and the Maple Leafs will open the first round of the playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Matthews is on pace to make history in the coming days‚ as he is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the NHL. He has scored 257 goals in his career‚ and he will likely top that total this playoff season. The Maple Leafs have failed to advance to the playoffs in four seasons‚ but Auston Matthews has played very well this year. His 60 goals have helped his team reach a playoff spot for the first time since 2004. As such‚ Matthews is in the running for the MVP award this season. This season is one to remember for Matthews‚ as the Maple Leafs face the defending Cup champions in the first round. The crowd greeted Matthews with a standing ovation on the bench and fans threw hats to him in honor of his record-breaking season. Next week‚ the Toronto Maple Leafs will face a tougher challenge than the Bruins and Lightning‚ two teams that have won the last three Eastern Conference titles. The Maple Leafs host the Bruins on Friday in the regular-season finale.

Lightning have a top-four defenseman

The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to make it three straight championships this spring. The defense has been the key to those two championship runs. The offense was better than league average and the team's goaltender‚ Andrei Vasilevskiy‚ has been in top form for five seasons. Tampa Bay has the fifth-best expected goals against per minute in the league this season‚ and they could use a top-four defenseman to improve their power play. The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are the first postseason tournament to resume after the realignment of divisional play and rebracketing of the last two rounds. This year‚ 16 teams qualified‚ but only one will walk away with the Cup. During the playoffs‚ ESPN will have the most coverage‚ televising the first 12 games on its networks‚ and the final two games on ESPN+. The NHL trade deadline gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a chance to add some key pieces to their lineup. While Stamkos has enjoyed elite status throughout his career‚ the Lightning could be a dark horse to win their third straight Stanley Cup. The Lightning have a top-four defenseman in 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff P‚ with Steven Stamkos being the franchise's leading scorer. Assuming the Lightning do not trade any of their top-four defensemen in the draft‚ they will have ample depth to make moves in the off-season. Among those players‚ Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul were the model favorites‚ while Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow were scratched. Both were integral to the team's vision of a checking line. As long as Sergachev can play‚ the Lightning should have no problems.