The Tampa Bay Lightning travel from Montreal to Toronto to face off against the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs have arguably been the best team in the league during the last month and show no signs of slowing down.
The Tampa Bay Lightning (16-5-4) currently sit at sixth place in the league standings, and third in the division. The Toronto Maple Leafs (18-7-2) are dcurrently tied for first in both the league and in the division, with the two league ties being the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers.
Both teams have been hot following a rough start from both teams and are now looking to win their respective divisions. Both these teams currently sit as top cup favorites along with the Panthers and Flames. The teams last met in Toronto in early November. The Leafs won in overtime 2-1 after Tampa Bay surrendered a 1-0 lead in the final minute of regulation.
The Lightning currently have a very unsurprising top three players, as most players expected for these three players to be the best on the Lightning.
Steven Stamkos: 12G 16A 28P
Victor Hedman: 5G 22A 27P
Alex Killorn: 8g 13A 21P
The offense on this Lightning team has been phenomenal despite the loss of star forwards Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, who both were injured earlier in the season and are expected to make full recoveries in mere weeks. If they can keep it up, they’re bound to be known as the deepest offenses in the league.
The defense has had its ups and downs this season, but with Victor Hedman finally starting to look like his usual self again, it’s been amazing these last few games. Without him and Mikhail Sergachev, the defense wouldn’t be nearly as good.
The Maple Leafs have had a long list of great players, and these top three players for points are some of the best in the league.
Auston Matthews: 17G 11A 28P
John Tavares: 12G 15A 27P
William Nylander: 11G 15A 26P
The offense has been the best in the league in the last month, hands down. Auston Matthews has ended his start-of-season slump and is looking to contend with Alexander Ovechkin for top goal scorer this season.
The defense has been solid and makes sure Jack Campbell doesn’t need to do too much in the net. Even if they make a mistake, Campbell has been able to bail them out.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (2.13 GAA, .927sv%) will start in net for the Lightning and face off against Jack Campbell (1.92 GAA, .939sv%). Campbell has proved to be a Vezina Trophy caliber goaltender, but Vasilevskiy has been making it hard for him as he’s put up a tremendous effort lately. Campbell already has three shutouts this season and Vasilevskiy has two.
Score: 4-3 Maple Leafs
Shots: 24 Lightning/31 Maple Leafs
Best Performer: Steven Stamkos (1G 1A 2P)
Overall Performance: B+
The Maple Leafs are such a great team, it’s hard to see any team winning against them right now. However, the game could go either way, but with so many injuries, it will be quite the uphill battle for the red-hot Lightning who bring their five-game point streak into Toronto to take on one of the league’s top teams.