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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Maple Leafs (February 17)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Maple Leafs (February 17) article feature image
Credit:

Richard A. Whittaker/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby

  • The Maple Leafs host the Penguins in a clash between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Leafs have won six straight at home, but are they overvalued against the Penguins on Thursday?
  • NHL betting analyst Nick Martin breaks down the odds and matchup, plus shares his best bet below.

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Penguins Odds +130
Maple Leafs Odds -150
Over/Under 6.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Penguins will look to build on a massive comeback win at home over their rival Flyers when Sidney Crosby broke through with his 500th career goal.

They will have no easy task in doing so against a Leafs team in the midst of a six-game home winning streak.

What can we expect from this battle between two of the East’s best?

Power Play Unit Leads the Maple Leafs

Having added 2 more power play tallies against the Kraken, Toronto’s man advantage unit has a ridiculous 31.5% efficiency, now 46 games into the campaign. This unit has a legitimate chance to finish in the top handful of power play groups over an entire regular season all time.

The strong play of that unit has helped Toronto to produce the league’s third-highest Expected Goals For per 60 rating of 3.58 over their last 10 games, scoring 4.54 goals per game where it matters.

So as expected with this team’s makeup, the offensive play has been great, particularly with three of the big four upfront in Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander all arguably in the best form we have seen.

Michael Bunting put his 15th tally of the season home in the Leafs’ big win over Seattle and has been a brilliant addition so far at just 950K AAV. He has played an important role to help insulate the big names upfront at a bargain of a price.

The defensive depth continues to be the Leafs’ biggest concern. The middle pairing of Justin Holl and Jake Muzzin has struggled notably, particularly with a lack of foot speed, and will have nowhere to hide out in this matchup with the Pens skating a ton of offensive talent throughout.

Jack Campbell has been confirmed for the big start here. The Leafs hope to see their main man settle back into form after a lengthy rough patch. Campbell holds a +8.8 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .922 Save % in 34 games played.

Crosby and Malkin Lead the Penguins

Considering how much of a buzzkill on the moment a loss to the lowly Flyers would have been, seeing the Penguins find a way to claw out of a 4-2 hole late in the third Tuesday was far from surprising. Pittsburgh is a team that has consistently been very hard to put away over this long run of dominance.

Coming from someone who has surely seen enough of it, the Pens seem to simply be very good again this season, and currently at full health, the lines seem very well balanced. The two-headed monster of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin down the middle leading the way for a strong middle six, and one of the league’s better third lines with Evan Rodrigues, Kasperi Kapanen, and Brock McGinn looms behind.

Consequently, they have the league’s ninth-best offensive output altogether this season, and it’s easy to see this team continuing to produce long term with the talent on hand.

Defensively, the Pens have been notably strong again this year and have given Tristan Jarry a solid opportunity to thrive. He has an impressive +15.6 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .925 Save % in 39 games played.

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Pick

Both of these team’s feature a ton of offensive talent and have scored effectively of late, as you might expect.

Toronto’s ridiculous offensive play has carried them recently, and they have produced a tremendous record even while allowing a lot of goals against.

Pittsburgh is certainly an above average team defensively, but it’s still easy to see the Pens allowing a solid total against this Leafs team, particularly with the unstoppable form the power play has been in.

The Pens should also score against this Leafs group, and altogether it seems likely that the Leafs, whose overs have hit in 11 of their last 14 contests, play in an other high scoring game.

Bet365 and a few others currently have the over 6 set at -125 which is the best available number, but the total of 6.5 at -105 currently offered by DraftKings still holds value. I expect we see 6.5 everywhere tomorrow, so if you’re lucky enough to claim the 6 offered currently, I would do so. 

Pick: Total Over 6 -125

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