NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets (March 7)
Vaughn Ridley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews.
- The Maple Leafs are heavy road favorites when they visit the Blue Jackets on Monday night.
- Toronto has been blown out in each of its last two games. Can you trust the Maple Leafs in this spot?
- NHL betting analyst Jonny Lazarus breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-235|
|Blue Jackets Odds||+190|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||ESPN+ | Hulu|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
These two teams met pretty recently when the Blue Jackets got a big 4-3 overtime win on home ice over the Maple Leads on February 22nd.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are such a hard team to figure out this season. They come into Columbus having lost their last two games in a row in ugly fashion. On Wednesday, they lost 5-1 at home against the Buffalo Sabres, and then on Saturday, they lost at home once again, to the Vancouver Canucks 6-4.
Columbus has looked impressive offensively as of late, but they just haven’t been finding many ways to win. Will they finally break through here against Toronto?
Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Find Consistency
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ last couple of games have been complete chaos, and it all starts with their goaltending. Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek have been splitting time in net, but neither of them has looked completely comfortable in the blue paint.
Campbell is the expected starter for this game, and in his last three starts, he has allowed 14 goals. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Leafs decide to go with Mrazek. In Mrazek’s last three starts, he’s allowed nine goals, which isn’t too bad.
Toronto’s offense has been one of the only areas of its game that has been relatively consistent. The Leafs average the fourth-most goals per game in the league, and they are currently scoring 3.64 goals per contest. They have the best Power Play in the league that converts on 29.3% of their chances.
There aren’t any concerns about the Leafs offense showing up to play, but the biggest question is if they will be able to slow down a Blue Jackets team that has had no problem scoring goals lately.
Columbus Blue Jackets Holding Onto Hope For Playoffs
The Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t out of the playoff hunt just yet. Columbus’ offense has been leading the way as it has scored eleven goals in the last three games. The Blue Jackets have the ninth-best offense as they are scoring 3.27 goals per game, averaging 29.6 Shots on Goal.
A key to the game for Columbus will be to stay out of the box. They aren’t so bad on the penalty kill, but Toronto’s man advantage unit is very difficult to contain. The Blue Jackets have the 15th-best ranked Penalty Kill, killing off 80% of their chances.
Elvis Merzlikins is the expected starter for Columbus, given that he has started the last four games in a row. Merzlikins hasn’t had the best season, as he is 19-14-3 on the year with a .903 Save Percentage and a -8.0 Goals Saved Above Expected.
Columbus has shown that it can keep up with Toronto but will need a strong performance from Merzlikins to compete in this one.
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Pick
This game has all of the ingredients to be a complete shootout. Neither goalie has been at his best, and the Columbus offense has been absolutely buzzing.
This game is loaded with offensive talent for both teams, and some key players to watch include Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. All three of these players have looked phenomenal this season, and I’m confident that all three of them will get on the scoresheet.
Both teams have been struggling lately to find ways to win, but I think there will be a plethora of goal scoring. I’m going with the over even at 6.5.
Pick: Over 6.5 -120