NHL Betting Odds and Picks: Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens, Islanders vs. Lightning and More (Saturday, Feb. 8 2020)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault
The Toronto Maple Leafs can whip up a media frenzy like no other team in the NHL. On Wednesday night, the Leafs fell to the New York Rangers, 5-3, at Madison Square Garden. It was another loss that featured a sub-par effort from No. 2 goaltender Michael Hutchinson. That was a big problem for the Leafs since starting goalie Frederik Andersen is out dealing with an injury.
The issue was partially solved after the loss at MSG, as general manager Kyle Dubas acquired back-up goalie Jack Campbell and play-pushing fourth-line forward Kyle Clifford from Los Angeles for Trevor Moore and some draft picks.
The deal was met with the usual Dubas-level praise, but it also isn’t a sure thing to fix the Leafs and send them on their merry way into the postseason.
After a terrific season with Los Angeles in 2018-19, Campbell has struggled to a -7.6 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) this season. Compared to Hutchinson, Campbell is an upgrade. But if Andersen, who has struggled this season, isn’t healthy or can’t find his form, I have my doubts that Campbell can succeed in the Leafs’ run-and-gun environment.
Toronto visits rival Montreal on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday.
In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet for access to their NHL promotion, which stipulates that if your NHL bet ever gets a two-goal lead in a game, you win even if it ends up actually losing (promotion good for up to $100).
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens
- Maple Leafs odds: -110
- Canadiens odds: -110
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: NHL Network
The Montreal Canadiens are one of the best play-driving teams in the NHL with a 53.6% expected goals rate. Montreal is the only top-5 expected goals team that isn’t in the playoff picture. Injuries and mediocre goaltending from Carey Price (-4.8 GSAx) and his band of rotating backups have doomed the Habs to the dreaded fringe.
The playoffs are very much a longshot for Montreal, but the Habs are giving it a go with a 7-3-0 record and a 56.3% expected goals rate in their last 10 games.
A win over Toronto, one of the teams Montreal is trying to catch in the standings, would go a long way. That’s easier said than done, the Maple Leafs are quite a talented bunch, but the odds tell us that this game is a toss up.