Leafs begin playoff series with Lightning Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena

Apr 14 2023, 1:53 pm

Maple Leafs fans will be in for a little déjà vu in the first round of the NHL playoffs as Toronto gets set to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second year in a row.

Last year’s series was famously close and took all seven games to be decided. Tampa ultimately won the final match and the series and appeared in their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final.

And just like last year, the Leafs, who finished in second place in the Atlantic Division, will have home-ice advantage in the first-round matchup. That means games 1,2,5 and 7 would all be played at Scotiabank Arena.

While most of Leafs Nation doesn’t need to be reminded, Toronto has not advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 2004. So beating the Lightning would offer them sweet revenge and break a nearly two-decade-long curse.

Oddsmakers are in Toronto’s favour, though, as the Leafs are -150 favourites to beat the Lightning in the upcoming first-round matchup, as per Sports Interaction.

And another positive indicator that they can do it this year might be Toronto’s 4-3 victory Tuesday night in Tampa without star players Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews.

Nevertheless, the playoffs are different, and we must wait until Tuesday to understand how this will play out.

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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