NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Senators vs. Maple Leafs (October 15)
AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King. Pictured: Auston Matthews
- The Maple Leafs host the Senators in what should be a very intriguing Saturday night matchup.
- Auston Matthews is a historically fast starter, but he's tallied just one point so far this season, perhaps this will be his breakout performance.
- Carol Schram previews the match and offers up a best bet below.
Senators vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-250|
|Over/Under||6 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Battle of Ontario takes center stage on Saturday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Ottawa Senators for the marquee game of the first edition of Hockey Night in Canada for the 2022-23 NHL season.
Already in the pressure cooker, the Leafs opened their season with a road loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. They then returned to Scotiabank Arena to tally a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Meanwhile, after earning some of the biggest accolades in the league for their offseason moves, the Senators were held to just one goal on 36 shots by 41-year-old Craig Anderson as they suffered a 4-1 loss in Buffalo in their season opener.
Here's more on both teams, and your best bet for what could be a high-scoring Saturday night.
The Senators hallmark this season is their deep pool of young offensive talent, headlined by new arrival Alex DeBrincat. However, Ottawa ran into a hot goalie on Thursday and controlled 53.11% of expected goals at 5-on-5 while Anderson saved 1.2 goals above expected.
The Senators weren't able to capitalize on their four power-play chances in Buffalo, but they were also perfect on their own penalty kill, erasing all four of the Sabres' opportunities.
Ottawa's goaltending wasn't bad, either. The tight game was 2-1 Buffalo from the 7:25 mark of the second period until the last minute of the third, when Victor Olofsson scored a pair of empty-netters. At his end of the ice, Anton Forsberg saw 34 shots and stopped 0.6 goals above expected.
With newly acquired Cam Talbot on the injured list, Forsberg is expected to get the nod again on Saturday night.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs will be playing their third game in four nights on Saturday and will make it 4-in-6 when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. While Toronto, as of Friday night, hasn't announced its starter, it's expected the established rotation with continue and that Matt Murray will get the nod against his former team.
Murray struggled mightily during his two years with Ottawa. Injuries limited him to 47 games and he finished with an .899 save percentage, a 3.23 goals-against average and -11.8 goals saved above expected.
He didn't fare much better in his Toronto debut, allowing four goals on 23 shots from the Canadiens for -1.5 goals saved above expected. And he's not getting much help in front of him because the Leafs are starting the season with holes on their blue line as a result of long-term injuries to Timothy Liljegren, Carl Dahlstrom and Jordie Benn.
The Leafs' identity is all about their high-octane offense. They averaged 3.80 goals per game last season and boasted the best power play, with a success rate of 27.3%. There's room for improvement from their three goals in each of their first two games, and a power play that has gone just 1-for-7.
Senators vs. Maple Leafs Pick
Historically, Matthews starts fast. He has just one point in his first two games — the game-winner against Washington — so he could be primed to break out on Saturday night against an Ottawa team that hopes to be better defensively, but was 22nd in goals against last season.
Meanwhile, Murray's already in a pressure cooker and there's nothing in hockey like tending goal for Toronto at Scotiabank Arena on a Saturday night.
It the Senators start putting the pieces together, we could be in for an entertaining and high-scoring affair. That makes the over the smart play.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-120); play down to -130