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NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Devils (March 7)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Devils (March 7) article feature image

Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Bahl

  • The New Jersey Devils return home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs in a Tuesday night NHL affair.
  • Both teams are comfortably in the postseason, so where can you find value in a battle of elite teams?
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.

Maple Leafs vs. Devils Odds

Maple Leafs Odds +106
Devils Odds -128
Over/Under 6.5 (-112/-108)
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Two teams that made significant changes ahead of the NHL trade deadline will get a chance to test themselves against each other on Tuesday, when the New Jersey Devils play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The surging Devils eked out a 5-4 shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes in Timo Meier’s debut on Sunday as they wrapped up a three-game road trip before heading back to Newark. Finishing a five-game swing of their own on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs lost newly acquired center Ryan O’Reilly to a broken finger in their last game on Saturday, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks.

Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for Tuesday’s game.

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Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs turned over a third of their active roster ahead of last Friday’s trade deadline in an attempt to find the chemistry that will finally get them a win in the first round of the playoffs.

As mentioned, O’Reilly has landed on the injured list after playing eight games in the blue and white. Fellow acquisition Luke Schenn is also currently away from the team — awaiting the imminent arrival of his third child in Vancouver. That leaves new faces Noel Acciari and Sam Lafferty in the mix up front, and Jake McCabe and Erik Gustafsson on the blue line.

Captain John Tavares is also expected to miss Tuesday’s game. He took part in practice Monday, but is said to be feeling a bit under the weather. Forwards Alex Steeves and Pontus Holmberg were recalled Monday from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

Even before taking O’Reilly and Tavares out of the mix, the Leafs have looked a bit discombobulated lately. They’re 2-2-0 so far on this road trip and have managed just five goals in their last three games, while giving up 10.

After Tuesday’s game, the Leafs have three days off before opening a four-game homestand on Saturday against Edmonton. In net, Matt Murray returned to action in Vancouver after missing 17 games with an ankle injury, so Ilya Samsonov should get the nod on Tuesday. He’s at a solid 10.9 goals saved above expected for the year, with a .915 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average.

New Jersey Devils

It wasn’t a perfect game in Tempe on Sunday. The Devils were up 4-2 on the Coyotes after two periods, but the hosts came back to force overtime before Nico Hischier iced it with his 27th of the year.

Making his Devils debut after missing five games with an upper-body injury, Meier opened the scoring while skating on a line with Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt. Pretty good company.

New Jersey also acquired depth forward Curtis Lazar from the Vancouver Canucks before the trade deadline. He’s coming off a lower-body injury suffered in mid-February, and did not suit up on Sunday.

Monday was a day off for the Devils as they made their way home to Newark, where they’ll play just one game before heading back out on the road.

With Mackenzie Blackwood on the injured list, Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid are currently sharing netminding duties. Either option is solid and Schmid, another Swiss-born player, is now up to a team-leading 6.5 goals saved above expected in 12 games, where he carries a .926 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average.

Beyond that, the Devils are maintaining their solid play at both ends of the ice, even as we get into the later stages of the season. Since the All-Star break, they’re 9-2-2 and remain in the NHL’s top 10 in every significant statistical category. Most impressively, they’re averaging 4.00 goals a game, with Meier on board for just one of those contests.

Other than Blackwood, the Devils are healthy.

Maple Leafs vs. Devils Pick

The two previous games between these teams this season have been tight, low-scoring affairs, and the road team has prevailed in both cases. New Jersey earned a 3-2 overtime win at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 17. Six days later, Toronto returned the favor by a 2-1 score in 60 minutes in Newark.

With the Leafs’ current injury and chemistry issues, and not much to play for with their playoff seed relatively secure, they may not be able to bring their ‘A’ game on Tuesday night. The Devils have been playing better, but they’re also comfortable in the standings and returning home from a long trip with a heavy slate of games ahead over the next two weeks.

If you’re looking to back one side over the other, New Jersey should have the edge — as the oddsmakers suggest. For better betting value, though, consider the Under. It’s close to even money as of Monday evening.

Pick: Under 6.5 (-115 or Better)

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