Islanders vs. Maple Leafs Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back New York’s Defense to Keep Scoring at Premium (Sunday, April 17)

Islanders vs. Maple Leafs Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back New York’s Defense to Keep Scoring at Premium (Sunday, April 17) article feature image

AP Photo/Derik Hamilton. Pictured: Auston Matthews

  • The Maple Leafs are home favorites against the Islanders on Sunday night.
  • In a strength-on-strength battle between the Islanders' defense and the Maple Leafs' offense, which side will prevail?
  • Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Islanders vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Islanders Odds+165
Maple Leafs Odds-200
Over/Under6.5 (-105/-115)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New York Islanders head over to the Hockey Mecca and take on the red hot Toronto Maple Leafs. It’ll be the final time both teams square off, as the Maple Leafs look to sweep the season series against the Isles.

It’s been a trying season for the Islanders after two consecutive final four appearances. They’ll miss the playoffs for the first time in three years but are finishing the season strong, going 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a win in Montreal.

After a disappointing end to last season, the Maple Leafs are making a point to never go through what they went through last year again. They have been on fire as of late, and they’re not turning back as they're 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

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Islanders' Stout Defense

While this season may have been a lost cause, the Islanders have gotten some solid production out of their top guys. Brock Nelson is posting a career high in goals with 34, Mathew Barzal continues to dazzle, Anders Lee has gotten back to his scoring ways, and Noah Dobson is shaping up to be a top defenseman. There aren’t many significant injuries for the Isles, except for Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield.

The Islanders don’t exactly have a very high-octane offense, as they only score 2.75 goals per game and have an Expected Goals rate of 47.94 xGF%. While they have managed to generate around the league average of High Danger Chances, the Isles don’t fare well with a man advantage. They score at a 19.2% clip, which is 22nd in the league.

Since Barry Trotz took the helm on the Island, the Isles have been a defense-first team. They only allow 2.74 goals per game (seventh) and are the fourth-best team on the Penalty Kill, fighting off the Power Play 85% of the time.

Ilya Sorokin has had a wonderful season despite the team struggles. He just posted his seventh shutout and has an eye-popping .928 SV% and +7.7 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). His backup Semyon Varlamov hasn’t been a slouch either with a .914 SV% and a +0.9 GSAx. Varlamov was out against Montreal with a non-Covid illness, so perhaps he gets the nod if he’s feeling better.

Maple Leafs Offense Remains Elite

Toronto is a different animal on the offensive end. They have talent from top to bottom, which is led by 58-goal scorer Auston Matthews. Behind Matthews is Mitch Marner, who is also averaging a point per game along with captain John Tavares and William Nylander. The Leafs will be without two of their top defensemen in Jake Muzzin and Rasmus Sandin, but their absences clearly haven’t affected the defense yet.

With such a high-powered offense, the Maple Leafs are among the league’s elite at scoring and generating play. Toronto scores a second-best 3.84 goals per game, while also holding the fourth-best Expected Goals rate of 55.93 xGF%. Not only that, but the Leafs generate a ton of High Danger Chances and hold the best Power Play in the league, scoring at a 28% clip.

When protecting the puck, the Maple Leafs do an okay job. Goaltending in the second half has made them look worse than they are, but they allow 3.08 goals per game. Their Penalty Kill, however, has been incredible so far, with an 83.2% success rate.

It looks like Jack Campbell will get the nod in this matchup since Erik Kallgren took the net in Ottawa on the first half of the back-to-back on Saturday night. The Michigan native has not been himself after an unstoppable first half of the season. Campbell has posted less than a .900 SV% in eight of his last 10 games, which is a cause for concern heading into the playoffs. He’s currently posting a .911 SV% along with a -4.8 GSAx. 

Islanders vs. Maple Leafs Pick

As well as the Islanders have been playing as of late, it’s so hard to overlook how well the Maple Leafs have done. Sure, their goaltending has been subpar, but I can easily see the Leafs' high-octane offense steer through the Islanders' stellar defense.

However, the Islanders usually manage to keep damage at a minimum, even if things aren't going their way. Through solid goaltending and a sound defensive structure, I can see this going under the allotted total.

In the end, I see Toronto winning this matchup, but since those odds aren’t very profitable, I’m going with the under here.

Pick: Under 6 (-110)

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