Lightning vs. Maple Leafs: Who has the Advantage?

Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /


Advantage: Toronto

While the top two lines of these two teams are pretty even, the overall depth of the group of forwards most favors the Maple Leafs. They have significantly more options at the forward position as far as bringing guys in and out of the lineup. They were very busy at the deadline bringing in players like Ryan O’Rielly, Noel Acciari and Sam Lafferty to sure up their depth and make them a team more built for the playoffs.

Adding Forward Matthew Knies after his Minnesota Gophers lost in the NCAA National Championship game could be a wild card for the Leafs as yet another option that Toronto has to insert into their lineup despite playing just three regular season games.

As for the Lightning, their stars are just as good as Toronto’s. Where they probably fall behind is the depth. Their bottom two lines are probably not as good as Toronto’s and have very limited options as far as making lineup changes are concerned. At full health,  Tampa Bay has just one extra forward. Tampa Bay will be without Tanner Jeannot to begin the series so they will only have 12 healthy forwards compared to Toronto’s 14.