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NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Canucks vs. Maple Leafs (March 5)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Canucks vs. Maple Leafs (March 5) article feature image
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Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. Pictured: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko.

  • The Vancouver Canucks head west for Saturday's NHL showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • Goaltender Thatcher Demko and the Canucks are pretty much in playoff mode as they try to secure a postseason berth.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the game below and delivers two wagers connected to Vancouver.

Canucks vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Canucks Odds +180
Maple Leafs Odds -225
Over/Under 6.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Vancouver Canucks continue to ride the wave of positivity brought in upon the hiring of head coach Bruce Boudreau after finding a way claim a massive two points with a comeback Thursday over the New York Islanders.

On the other side, every loss seems to bring the weight of the world to Toronto and that narrative surely continued after a very poor effort at home led to a recent 5-1 loss and the team being booed off the ice.

Surely Toronto will bring a ton of intensity and urgency in Saturday’s game, but will that allow them a comfortable win against the Canucks?

Vancouver Canucks

Thursday’s massive result kept the Canucks’ playoff aspirations moving in the right direction, and Vancouver now holds a 15.4% chance of getting there, according to MoneyPuck.

Under Boudreau the Canucks hold a dominant 19-9-4 record, and have been strong of late with a 6-2-0 record over their last eight contests, with a 51.56 expected goals rate during that time.

The main part of the story continues to be the stellar play of Thatcher Demko, who I feel could realistically be in the Vezina Trophy mix without the Canucks’ horrific defensive play to start the year.

However, the Canucks are starting to see more pieces starting to move the needle up front and watching this bunch continues to make a stunning push for a playoff spot is something I have truly enjoyed, as well as seeing Elias Pettersson start to find his form.

With Jaro Halak already having received a start this week, it’s hard for me to see any reason not to roll Demko in this spot. Demko holds a +10.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .918 save percentage throughout 44 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The pressure surrounding Toronto this season is clearly at a ridiculous fever pitch. Needles to say, I definitely question if that noise is hard to drown out and doesn’t in turn make it harder to just play.

The level of play has legitimately dipped to an extent for the Maple Leafs, who hold just a 5-4-1 record over their last 10 contests. Toronto still has a strong, but not spectacular, expected goals rate of 53.49, but the main concern has really just continued to be the mediocre goaltending seen of late.

Jack Campbell has been confirmed as the starter, and while he is likely capable of far more than we have seen of late, the struggles have extended over quite a long period of time at this point. That said, I would prefer not to bet on him finding better form.

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Canucks vs. Maple Leafs Pick

Vancouver almost certainly won’t control more of the play, but that doesn’t seem to matter in Toronto games of late, considering the widely covered goaltending struggles the Leafs are seeing. So, with Demko in strong form, I think it’s easy to see the Canucks posting an opportunistic performance.

The Canucks are essentially already in playoff mode every night with their desperation for points, and have fared unbelievably well in contests started by Demko during the Boudreau era.

I am making two plays and going with the Canucks +1.5 at -120 odds to start. I’m also backing Demko to go clear 31.5 saves at -120 odds or better.

Pick:  Vancouver +1.5 (-120) & Demko (Van) Total Over 31.5 Saves (-120)

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