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Maple Leafs vs. Islanders Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Islanders to Pull Off Upset Against Toronto (Jan. 22)

Maple Leafs vs. Islanders Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Islanders to Pull Off Upset Against Toronto (Jan. 22) article feature image
Credit:

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Islanders standout Josh Bailey.

  • New York plays hosts to Toronto for some NHL action on Saturday night.
  • The Islanders lost earlier this season to the Leafs and are +145 underdogs tonight.
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Maple Leafs vs. Islanders Odds

Maple Leafs Odds -165
Islanders Odds +145
Over/Under 5.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their New York trip with their matchup Saturday against Mathew Barzal and the New York Islanders.

These two teams faced each other earlier this season in New York, with the Maple Leafs cruising to an easy 3-0 victory.

Will history repeat itself or can the Islanders protect their home ice from another loss against Toronto?

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto enters this matchup following a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. With starting goaltender Jack Campbell getting a maintenance day, the Maple Leafs will go with Petr Mrazek between the pipes.

While this is an obvious statement, I think it’s important to state that Petr Mrazek is no Jack Campbell. Mrazek is just 2-2 with a 0.882 SV% in his four starts this season and ranks 31st in 5-on-5 goals saved above expected (GSAx) per 60 minutes amongst starting net-minders.

To make matters worse for this matchup, Mrazek is 0-2 on the road with those losses coming against Arizona and Ottawa — teams who are worse than the Islanders. As a team, Toronto finds more difficulty in its road matchups, with eight of their 13 losses this season coming away from Scotiabank Arena.

Matthews and the rest of the offense get most of the media attention, but Campbell has really been the backbone and will be in Vezina conversation at season’s end. However, Mrazek starting over Campbell is a big difference.

The Maple Leafs’ offense scores a lot of goals, especially on the power play. Toronto ranks first in the league in PP%. However, the Islanders rank 10th in PK% and have given up the least amount of penalties in the entire league (granted with some fewer games played). I think Islanders head coach Barry Trotz’s grit-and-grind defensive system will frustrate the Maple Leafs’ offense.

New York Islanders

Speaking of their grit-and-grind defensive system, the Islanders rank sixth in the league in 5-on-5 shots against on net percentage. As I said earlier, the Islanders can frustrate Matthews and the Maple Leafs.

Apart from a good defensive system, the Islanders also have a big goaltending edge tonight despite starting their backup as well. Semyon Varlamov has done a terrific job this season when filling in for Sorokin, boasting a 0.917 SV%. Varlamov would rank 15th among starting goalies in 5-on-5 goals saved above expected (GSAx) per 60 minutes.

Varlamov has been on fire, winning three of his last four starts and posting a 0.959 SV% in that span. These numbers didn’t come against poor offenses either, as he stopped 40 of 41 shots against Boston and 34 of 35 shots versus Washington. Varlamov is a proven veteran and can shut down any offense.

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Maple Leafs vs. Islanders Pick

I think the Islanders can get their revenge against the Maple Leafs. Bottom line, the price s too long with Mrazek starting for Toronto.

Give me the home underdog with the better goaltender in a revenge spot.

Pick: New York ML (+145 — Play up to +130)

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