Maple Leafs vs. Sharks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Visiting Toronto to Triumph in NHL Clash (Nov. 26)
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner.
- Toronto travels to San Jose on Friday night for an NHL matchup.
- After a slow start to the season, the Maple Leafs have won 12 of their last 14 games, while the Sharks are sub .500 in their last 10.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Maple Leafs vs. Sharks Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-155|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Toronto heads to San Jose on Friday, looking to avenge a 4-2 home defeat on Oct. 22 at the hands of the Sharks. The win moved San Jose to 4-0 at the time, while the loss moved Toronto to 2-2-1 just prior to a low-point 2-4-1 record.
Oh, how things have changed since then though, as Toronto is now 14-6-1 after a tremendous run of play, while San Jose have slowly treaded toward .500 and sit at 10-8-1 on the season.
Will we see the Maple Leafs continue to post dominant results in San Jose?
Toronto Maple Leafs
From the get-go, Toronto was never as bad as its early results indicated and the underlying numbers always signified a breakthrough was likely to come.
Well, that came to fruition, as the Maple Leafs have posted a 12-2-0 stretch with a +20 goal differential and the league’s best expected goals rating over the time frame at 57.02 percent.
The team has been very sharp in front of goal over the run, posting the league’s 9th best xGA/60 2.20, allowing goaltender Jack Campbell a chance to shine in posting a .943 save % and 15.5 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx) this season.
Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren have been very strong of late, going as the club’s third pair, and altogether own a 70.2% xGF% more than 135 minutes together at even strength.
Sandin, in particular, has taken clear strides forward this season and his excellent skating and puck-moving abilities clearly make up for his lesser physical play. It really is a great example of the sort of new-age defensemen finding a ton of success across the league.
The big four up front have begun to dominate as well for the Maple Leafs, as strong play of late has Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander all sitting close to a point per game this season.
People love to criticize general manager Kyle Dubas’ salary make-up in paying those forwards so much. Yet, the fact is the group of elite talent is rivaled by few and just because it hasn’t worked yet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.
I saw this firsthand when my Washington Capitals finally broke through in 2018 and all the pundits suddenly had hundreds of reasons things were different. Yet, it was really just a few bounces that finally allowed them to push past the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two after agonizingly close losses in years prior.
That’s similar to what we could have seen when Toronto lost in seven games to Boston in 2019 or last season with Montreal’s seven-game victory prior to a Stanley Cup Finals run.
Some of the budget pieces signed in the offseason have started to click as well for the Maple Leafs, as Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and David Kampf have been altogether effective in depth roles, insulating the big contracts upfront in cost-effective fashion.
Campbell should draw the start in goal yet again for Toronto.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have surprised in the early going this season, but I continue to feel the results will be more middling as we get deeper into the year and that a .500 record close to what we have seen over their last 10 (4-5-1) is more indicative of what the roster is likely to produce.
Over those 10 games, the club has put together a 48.03 xGF% and to my eye haven’t looked overly impressive. That trend continued Wednesday in a sloppy win over the woeful Ottawa Senators, a 6-3 final score greatly boosted by two empty-netters.
Brent Burns and Mario Ferraro don’t manage the puck well on the top pair and I continue to feel life will be hard for San Jose skating the big minutes, as it has been so far with the duo having posted just a 43.2 xGF% over 336.7 minutes together.
He’s not what he was, but Erik Karlsson is clearly in better form after some tough injury riddled seasons and it has been very enjoyable to watch him succeeding again. Karlsson has offered some upside on the back end compared to last year.
It’s uncertain whether Adin Hill or James Reimer will draw the start from head coach Bob Boughner, as games have been pretty evenly split the two, although Reimer appears to be in notably better form and should likely go.
Hill has posted an .890 save % over nine games, with a -3.3 GSAx, while Reimer has posted a .936 save % and a +6.4 GSAx this season.
Maple Leafs vs Sharks Pick:
As alluded to, Toronto has been in impeccable form of late and I feel confident the team can control more of the play here and give Campbell a great chance to claim yet another victory.
San Jose has shown more of the sloppy defensive play many expected as this season has won on. And I think the Maple Leafs can certainly expose a top pair of Burns and Ferraro at 5-on-5, as well as just being altogether in sharper form and holding far more talent.
I see a lot of value in backing the Toronto at +100 odds via DraftKings to take this one in regulation and I would do so in short order since I’m fairly confident that line will grow closer to game time.
Pick: Toronto 3-Way Line (+100 — play to -115)
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