Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus NHL Odds, Prediction
The red-hot (no Valentine’s Day pun intended) Toronto Maple Leafs wrap up their five-game homestand on Wednesday night when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Maple Leafs, coming off an exhilarating win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, now sit just six points behind the Lightning for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
In the Leafs victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, something quite notable occurred. The combination of the Leafs young stars – Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander – all contributed on a goal together for the first time in their careers. While, this season the Maple Leafs have developed good chemistry on their lines, the potential combination of these three young stars on a single line could prove to be very prosperous down the road.
The Columbus Blue Jackets currently sit just outside a playoff spot They have struggled as of late, going 3-6-1 in their last ten games. The Blue Jackets had lost five straight games, before beating the New Jersey Devils on 6-1 on Saturday night.
The Columbus Blue Jackets play the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. The New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets enter the game one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
This game is the third and final meeting between these two franchises this season. The Blue Jackets won the first two games of the season, including a 3-2 victory in overtime in Toronto just over a month ago. The Maple Leafs have the better team overall, but the Blue Jackets have been much more successful in this small rivalry.
Since the Columbus Blue Jackets moved from the Western Conference to the East (at the start of the 2013-14 NHL season), they have been very successful against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs hold a 4-9-1 mark against the Blue Jackets since the move. In the last seven games, the Maple Leafs are only 1-5-1 in their previous seven against the Blue Jackets.
The Maple Leafs are surging at the moment. They have won five straight and eight of their last nine games, five of which came by three goals or more. While the Blue Jackets are good against the Leafs, the Jackets do play against the Islanders on Tuesday night.
The Blue Jackets come into this game, coming off a critical game on Tuesday night. This season in the second half of back-to-backs the Blue Jackets are respectable 6-6-1. Last season the John Tortorella was even better, finishing the 2016-17 regular season 10-5-4.
After playing a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday this weekend, the Blue Jackets starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is likely to get the night off. If he is shelved, starting goaltender duties will fall to Joonas Korpisalo. Korpisalo is 5-5-0 on the season. Korpisalo beat the Maple Leafs earlier in the season, making a season-high 39 saves at home.
Korpisalo’s GAA is a bit of a concern. At 2.97 (in 11 games), he is prone to just as many good starts as bad ones. While Korpisalo did beat the Maple Leafs recently, he could have some rust having only started four games in the last two months
Frederik Anderson should start in the net for the Maple Leafs. Andersen has won four straight games and looked great between the pipes on Monday against the league’s best team – the Tampa Bay Lightning – making 31 saves, including a few huge ones to close out the game.
With the offence scorching, the Leafs should match their season-high with their sixth straight win, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night before heading out on the road to play a back-to-back against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings this weekend.
After an offensive lull at the beginning of the New Year, the Leafs offence once again looks like one of the best units in the NHL. The total has gone over in three of the last four Maple Leafs games, while the teams itself has scored at least three goals in eight of their last nine games.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the weaker road offences in the NHL. They rank 23rd in road goals per game (2.63) and own a road goal differential of -0.48. When only accounting for the second half of a back-to-back on the road this season, their goal average drops down to 2.50.
However, the last three second games of a back-to-back (regardless of home or road) for the Blue Jackets have all finished with seven goals total. That fact with how great the Leafs offence is playing makes wagering on the over the smart move on Wednesday night.
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