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Expect offensive explosion between Leafs, Lightning

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We have a small but exciting five-game slate on the docket Wednesday night. Let's look at a few of my favorite ways to attack it.

Lightning (+110) @ Maple Leafs (-130)

Offense tends to explode when the Lightning and Maple Leafs square off. Seven of their past eight regular-season meetings have featured seven goals or more, with an average of 7.75 goals per game.

There's no reason to expect different in this game. Even with Mitch Marner sidelined, Toronto is firing on all cylinders offensively. Led by Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, the same can be said of Tampa Bay.

The Lightning have scored 3.64 goals per 60 minutes since the calendar flipped, which ties them for third in the NHL. The Maple Leafs have scored 3.72 goals per 60 over the same period. That puts them ahead of every team but the Avalanche.

The abundance of firepower in this game means goals will be scored in bulk because of the efficiency and talent of the shooters. On top of that, the goaltending matchup doesn't look all that great.

Andrei Vasilevskiy isn't playing anywhere close to the level we've come to expect from him. It's not getting better, either: Vasilevskiy has conceded three or more goals in 13 of his past 17 starts.

Joseph Woll has allowed 19 goals over his last six starts (3.16 per game), so it's not like he's untouchable at the other end of the ice.

Expect Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Kucherov, Point, and all the dynamic stars in this game to make plenty happen en route to another high-scoring affair.

Bet: Over 6.5 (-115)

Mika Zibanejad: Over 2.5 shots

The Devils are struggling defensively. They're banged up on the back end and playing very fast, resulting in a ton of shot volume against them on a nightly basis.

A lot of the shots are coming from opposing centers. The Devils have conceded 13.30 shots per game to the position over the last 10, according to ShotPropz. No team has allowed more.

That puts Zibanejad firmly on the radar. The Swede has gone over his total in five of the past six games, averaging 6.33 shot attempts in that span. He also has a strong history against the Devils, surpassing his total in four straight regular-season contests. He's also in good shooting form right now.

With Zibanejad rested and playing at home against a Devils team that played Tuesday, this is a great spot for him to continue firing away.

Odds: -134 (playable to -150)

Conor Garland: Over 2.5 shots

Garland is in his best shooting form of the season. He surpassed his total in seven of the past nine games and is consistently hovering around the five-attempt mark. He plays a hard-nosed game and lives around the net, so he needs fewer attempts than perimeter shooters to cash this bet.

His uptick in shots stems from more opportunity. Garland is riding shotgun with J.T. Miller at even strength and skates on the top power-play unit. He routinely logs 15 minutes in his current role alongside the team's best weapons and is in ideal situations for generating offense.

He should have no problem continuing his current trajectory against the Coyotes. They bleed shots at five-on-five and have the worst shot suppression numbers in the NHL while undermanned.

It's also worth noting there's a bit of a revenge factor. Garland has gone over his total in five of seven contests against his former team, producing an average of 3.4 shots on goal.

Expect that to continue on Wednesday night.

Odds: -114 (playable to -125)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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