NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Panthers (April 5)
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Huberdeau.
Maple Leafs vs. Panthers Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||+145|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Two of the NHL’s top scoring teams will face off as the Toronto Maple Leafs travel south to take on the Florida Panthers. The Atlantic Division rivals will square off for the second time, as Toronto already has a 1-0 season series lead.
Toronto has been hot as of late, winning their last four games and going 8-2 in their last 10. Even though they haven’t clinched a playoff spot, they’ll definitely make the playoffs.
Florida is currently on the hunt for the Presidents’ Trophy leading the East with 102 points. The Panthers have won four in a row, clinched a playoff spot, and have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Matthews Leads the Maple Leafs
For the past five years, the Maple Leafs have put out some talented teams. It’s hard to ignore the phenom Auston Matthews has become, scoring 54 goals. Behind him, four more players have managed to score 20+ goals such as John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Michael Bunting. Both Nylander and defenseman Jake Muzzin are on the injury report (Nylander is day-to-day, and Muzzin is close to returning), but their statuses are uncertain.
Toronto has been incredible at creating offense all season, as they score at a 3.76 goals per game pace, as well as a 56.03 xGF% (Expected Goals For). They also give opposing defenses fits as they are generating the fifth-most High- Danger Scoring Chances. Scoring on the Power Play is easy for them, as the Leafs have a fluid unit, scoring at a league-leading 29.8% rate.
Defensively, Toronto has really held its ground. While they do allow 3.03 goals per game, they do a good job at limiting high danger chances, and their Penalty Kill is among the best at 83.9%.
Jack Campbell started last night against Tampa, so I would expect backup Erik Kallgren to start against Florida. The youngster Kallgren is averaging a .906 SV% and a -0.6 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).
It’s very possible coach Sheldon Keefe goes with Campbell in a back-to-back since Florida is a top team. Campbell has struggled in the second half this season, and now has a .914 SV% with a -2.5 GSAx. I would monitor this situation before making any decisions.
Panthers’ Elite Offense is Humming
The talent on this Florida Panthers roster is astounding. Despite not being recognized as much as other top producers, Jonathan Huberdeau is a superstar with 97 points in 69 games. Like their opponents, the Panthers can score, and have five players with 20 or more goals – most notably Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, and Anthony Duclair.
Unfortunately, they will be without their top defenseman Aaron Ekblad for the rest of the season, but it hasn’t affected their play.
With the exceptional talent on this team, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Florida is among the best in the NHL at generating offense. Scoring a league-leading 4.12 (!) goals per game, the Panthers have an Expected goals rate of 56.66 (second overall) and are first in generating High-Danger Scoring Chances. Their Power Play is unsurprisingly efficient as well, scoring at a 23% clip.
If there’s one concern for this team, it’s probably the defense. Losing Ekblad hasn’t hurt the team’s overall outlook since they score over four goals per game, but it doesn’t bode well on the blue line. Florida already allows almost three goals per game and a decent amount of High-Danger Scoring Chances. The Penalty Kill is also pretty average with only a 79.5% success rate.
Since Spencer Knight started on Sunday against Buffalo, I fully expect Sergei Bobrovsky to get the nod here. The man they call “Bob” has had a resurgence season after a disappointing first two seasons with the Cats. He’s currently posting a .914 SV% and a +18.8 GSAx.
Maple Leafs vs. Panthers Pick
This game will be a shootout, and it will be glorious.
Both teams score the two most goals per game league-wide, and in their last 10 games, Florida has averaged 4.2 goals to Toronto’s 4.5.
The Panthers are very capable of letting a ton of goals in the net, especially to a team like the Maple Leafs who stomped them in Toronto 5-2 last week.
Expect Florida to come in looking for revenge as the Panthers will throw their best to a Maple Leafs team coming off a dominating win against the defending champion Lightning. So all in all, expect there to be a lot of scoring in this matchup.
Pick: Over 7 (-105)