Toronto Maple Leafs Route Tampa Bay Lightning In Game 1, Several Players Fined, Predictions 

The Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series since 2004.

Maple Leafs Make Big-Time Statement In Game 1 Win Over Lightning

It’s quite rare for a No. 2 seed in any NHL division to enter the postseason as an underdog, but that’s exactly the case with the 2021-22 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Such is life when you’re playing a star-studded Tampa Bay Lightning team that’s aiming for a three-peat. And such is life when this Maple Leafs’ core, despite their immense talent, has yet to win a playoff series.

But in Game 1 on Monday, it was the Maple Leafs who looked more like the defending champions. Jack Campbell was impressive in a 24-save shutout. 60-goal man Auston Matthews lit the lamp twice, and the final result was an easy 5-0 victory for Toronto.

Jake Muzzin, David Kampf and Mitch Marner recorded the other goals for Toronto, who picked up their first home win in Game 1 of a playoff series since the opening round against the New York Islanders in 2002.

Canada’s most populated province launched mobile sports betting in early April, and there are many Ontario Bets promo codes promotions for this season that new customers can take advantage of.

Caesars, BetMGM, 888 Casino and bet365 Casino are among the approved sportsbooks in Ontario. Customers can place a variety of different bets in the “big four” North American professional sports leagues — the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB.

“It was a good night for us, but it’s one night,” head coach Sheldon Keefe said after Toronto’s win, per Sportsnet’s Luke Fox. Put your head on the pillow tonight and enjoy it. When you wake up tomorrow, it’s done, it’s over.

“The Tampa Bay Lightning will be a far better team when they come back in here. We’ll have to be better ourselves.”

Simmonds, Perry & Marron All Issued Minor Fines

On Tuesday, the league’s Department of Player Safety announced fines for Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds and Lightning forwards Pat Maroon and Corey Perry.

Simmonds and Maroon were each given $2,250 fines, and Perry was issued a $2,500 fine.

The fines stemmed from a third period brawl involving the two teams. The two Lightning veterans were getting into it with Simmonds, and things escalated from there. Maroon began fighting with Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly, and Perry got into a brawl with Ilya Lyubushkin.

The heated affair between the two Atlantic Division rivals netted a whopping 113 total penalty minutes (51 to the Lightning, 62 to the Maple Leafs). Toronto’s excellent penalty kill (5-for-5) was a key factor in their unexpected blowout win.

Predicting The Rest Of the Leafs-Lightning Series

The Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series since 2004, when they eliminated the provincial rival Ottawa Senators in the opening round. 

Now, the Leafs find themselves just three victories away from putting the painful streak to rest. And doing it against the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions — as an underdog no less —  would put a giant exclamation mark on the streak snapper.

The Lightning undoubtedly have the edge in many areas, especially on defense and in the crease. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been the NHL’s best goalie over the last four years, and it hasn’t been particularly close.

But the Lightning have shown signs of fatigue over the last month and a half. This usually happens to teams who are coming off a deep playoff run from the year prior, but of course, Tampa is coming off two straight lengthy postseason journeys that culminated in championships.

That works in favor of the Maple Leafs, who have younger stars and much fresher legs right now. And as we’ve seen throughout their recent battles with Tampa, Toronto’s star players are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the 2020 and 2021 champions.

Tampa Bay isn’t going to be this sloppy throughout the entire series. But the Maple Leafs, in short, have the Lightning right where they want them. The many critics of the Maple Leafs are tired of hearing this every year, but this season really does feel different.

With Campbell dialed in and both Marners and Matthews silencing the critics throughout the season, the Maple Leafs are poised to end the 18-year streak of no playoff series wins.

Prediction: Maple Leafs Defeat The Lightning In Six Games