NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Rangers (November 18)
Kevin Sousa/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Campbell
Maple Leafs vs. Rangers Odds
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The red-hot Rangers have won four straight games and will head to Toronto to face off against the equally scalding Maple Leafs, who also have been victorious in their past four.
Toronto is 9-1 in its past 10 games, has a 7-1 record in November and are shooting up the Atlantic Division standings. The Maple Leafs are just two points back of the Florida Panthers for first place and the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers have just one regulation loss in November and are 6-1-2 in their past nine games. They also defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime in Toronto on October 18th.
New York Rangers
The Rangers are expected to start goalie Igor Shesterkin for the tilt in Toronto on Thursday. Shesterkin has been solid with a .930 save percentage, and his 7.26 Goals Saved Above Average ranks as sixth-best in the NHL, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Shesterkin has covered up a lot of the Rangers’ warts this season as their underlying numbers have not been good through their first 16 games. New York ranks last in 5-on-5 Corsi-for percentage (44.3), third-worst in 5-on-5 Expected Goals Percentage (44.2) and have actually been outscored 26-22 in November despite gaining points in eight of their nine games.
Still, the line of Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko has been dominant over New York’s win streak. The line has scored in each of New York’s past four games, and Kakko has scored in consecutive games and has three points in the Rangers’ past two games.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are the NHL’s hottest team, with fewer losses over their past 10 games than even the scalding Anaheim Ducks — despite Anaheim winning eight straight and not losing in regulation since October 26.
Like the Rangers, Toronto has also been buoyed by its goaltending. Jack Campbell has been the hottest netminder in the sport, sharing the NHL lead in Save Percentage (.943), and leading the sport in Goals Against Average (1.61) and Goals Saved Above Average (11.8).
Toronto’s high-flying offense has not yet been uncorked, despite its league-leading 56.8 Expected Goals Percentage. The Maple Leafs have scored 46 goals in 17 games (2.7) and have the seventh-worst shooting percentage in the league (eight percent).
Maple Leafs vs. Rangers Pick
We’ll preface this pick by saying the Maple Leafs offense always has the potential to break out, and we obviously need the goalie matchup of Campbell vs. Shesterkin to be confirmed, but if it is, goals should be at a premium.
The under has hit in five of Toronto’s eight games in November, and given that the under is even-money odds, it seems like the pick.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals (+100)