NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Penguins (November 20)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitchell Marner
Maple Leafs vs. Penguins Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-175|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Toronto Maple Leafs were humbled when these teams met last, dropping a 7-1 decision on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That loss was part of a 2-4-1 start to the season for the Leafs, but they’ve turned a corner, going 10-1-0 in the 11 games since.
The Penguins are trending in the opposite direction, winning three of their past 11. Is a date with the Maple Leafs what the Pens need to get back on track?
Penguins Offense Getting Back to Full Strength
The Penguins have been contending with injuries since the start of the season and just now are getting back to full health. Sidney Crosby and Brian Dumoulin rejoined the Pens for their game against the Buffalo Sabres, which was the first time they had their full complement of players, sans Evgeni Malkin, who continues to rehabilitate from off-season surgery.
Having a full lineup has had a positive impact on the Penguins’ underlying metrics. Pittsburgh has posted consecutive expected goals-for percentages above 50% for the first time in almost three weeks. Across all strengths, the Penguins have attempted 73 scoring and 30 high-danger chances over their past two games.
I’m anticipating increased output from the Penguins over their coming games. Pittsburgh averages the third-most high-danger and second-most scoring chances per game but has the 23rd-ranked shooting percentage. Look for higher-scoring Penguins games now that they have a full lineup.
Maple Leafs Generating Most Chances in NHL
The Maple Leafs are similar to the Penguins as there is also a disconnect between their output and production metrics. Granted, the Leafs have piled up wins over the past few weeks, but we haven’t seen how high the offense can fly yet.
The Leafs are the top scoring chance-producing team in the NHL. They have the most scoring and high-danger chances this season, attempting 37.2 and 13.4, respectively, per game. Consequently, the Leafs have the top-ranked expected goals-for rating in the league.
However, Toronto remains substantially off expected output. Toronto ranks in the bottom 10 in the NHL in goals per game and has the sixth-worst shooting percentage. The Leafs have been snake bitten early, but they have the metrics and talent to support it, the floodgates will open up at some point.
Leafs vs. Penguins Pick
These two teams are due for offensive progression, resulting in more goals over their coming games. The last time these teams met, there were eight total goals, which was the third time over their previous four meetings these teams eclipsed the total.
I’m betting that trend continues, and we get a high-scoring game on Saturday night. This wager is most attractive at plus-money, which is still available on Saturday morning.
Pick: Over 6 +100