Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Odds, Picks, Predictions: Value on Home Underdogs? (February 22)
Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Boone Jenner
- The Maple Leafs are road favorites despite going through a rough stretch recently.
- Columbus is attempting to get back in the playoff race and will be motivated on its home ice.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-180|
|Blue Jackets Odds||+155|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Toronto Maple Leafs did not have their best showing Monday night in Montreal as they were defeated by the Canadiens, 5-2. The Maple Leafs dominated in the third period, outscoring the Canadiens 2-0 in the final frame, but it was too little too late.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have found some offensive fire power in their last two games, winning both of them by combined score of 14-7.
Leafs Looking to Avoid Third-Straight Loss
Toronto has had a rough two-game stretch, losing to the St. Louis Blues 6-3 on Saturday and to the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Monday. The one positive for the Maple Leafs to take into this game is that they were completely dominant in the last 20 minutes in Montreal and were able to generate high-quality scoring chances.
Offense is what drives this Toronto team. Scoring goals has been its bread and butter all season long, while getting quality goaltending from Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. The offense hasn’t been anything spectacular in these last two games, but the goaltenders weren’t there to bail them out.
In Campbell’s last start against the Blues he allowed five goals on 33 shots. Mrazek started in Montreal and he struggled from the beginning. He allowed five goals 24 shots.
The bottom line is that the Leafs just allowed five goals against the worst offensive team in the league and the game prior to this performance, they allowed six goals. Are we about to see the Leafs go on a rough stretch? We’ve seen it happen before.
Campbell should be announced as the starter tonight. He is a 23-8-3 on the year with a .922 save percentage and a +8.2 Goals Saved Above Expected, but it will be interesting to see how the Leafs battle in the second night of a back-to-back.
Blue Jackets Aren’t Dead Yet
With 33 games left in their season, the Blue Jackets only sit 11 points outside of a wild-card spot, they still have a chance to make the playoffs with a strong second-half push.
Despite their last two games being against weak opponents, Columbus has found an offensive spark. It may have been a bit under the radar, but the Blue Jackets have actually been solid offensively all season. They currently rank as the 11th-best offensive team as they are averaging 3.27 goals per game.
They may not have the most recognizable names in the league on their roster, but Boone Jenner, Jakub Voracek and Patrik Laine have led the way. Columbus is due for some regression as it is only expected to score 2.37 goals per 60 minutes, but it might be able to keep this momentum up against a Toronto team that’s struggling on the defensive end.
Columbus will need a for strong performance from its starting goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins, who has really fallen off after having a hot start. Merzlikins sat out of the last game, but his last start came on Thursday where he allowed four goals on 32 shots in a 7-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. This season, Merzlikins has a record of 18-13-1 with a .903 save percentage and a -6.1 GSAx.
J.F. Berube started in the teams last game against the Buffalo Sabres, stopping 33 of 36 shots, in a very put together effort. That was his first start of the season, so he may get another opportunity tonight.
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Pick
We have seen the Maple Leafs go on bad stretches throughout this season and they very well could be in the middle of another one right now. Columbus is not the best opponent to face when going through defensive struggles.
The Blue Jackets are 13-10-1 on home ice, so they know how to win games in Columbus and have the advantage in the fatigue department since they have had a day’s rest.
I think there is a ton of value on the Blue Jackets as a home underdog tonight. They have started to gain some momentum and are playing desperation hockey as a team that needs to move up in the standings.
I think the Leafs struggles could continue in Columbus tonight. I’m going with the upset.
Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets ML +155
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