NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sharks vs. Maple Leafs (October 22)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sharks vs. Maple Leafs (October 22) article feature image
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Sharks vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Sharks Odds +180
Maple Leafs Odds -215
Over/Under 6
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The San Jose Sharks will head into Scotiabank Arena as one of the league’s most pleasant surprises. After winning 2-1 in Ottawa on Thursday, the longshot Sharks are 3-0 with all three victories coming in regulation and on the road.

Despite the hot start, the Sharks are big-time underdogs against the Maple Leafs on Friday night.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have come flying out of the gates and put together another strong performance on Thursday in a 2-1 win over the pesky Senators.

Perhaps most encouraging is that a handful of key offensive players — most notably Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl — appear to be in good form in the early going. The proof is in the pudding as the Sharks currently sit third in the NHL in expected goals rate (xGF%) and have scored 11 goals in their three wins.

With top prospects William Eklund and Jonathan Dahlen looking very strong skating in the top six, the offence could shape up to be surprisingly deep should we see continue to see bounce-back performances from Meier, Couture and Hertl.

My long-term concerns with San Jose are more focused on the back-end, as I still think this unit is susceptible to giving up too many good scoring chances. The Maple Leafs will provide a stiff test on Friday.

Adin Hill has been confirmed as the Sharks starter tomorrow after sitting the first leg of the back-to-back. Hill posted a .913 save percentage last season across 19 games, and a 0.0 Goals Saved Above Expectation, so he was basically the definition of average.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Goals have been surprisingly tough to come by for a Leafs team that projects to be one of the league’s most prolific. The Buds have managed just eight goals in four contests and are 2-1-1 on the season. It should be noted that the team was without last season’s Rocket Richard winner, Auston Matthews, for the first three games. Matthews looked sharp in his debut, posting the best xGF% in the game and firing eight shots on goal.

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Even without Matthews, the Leafs have not had issues producing scoring chances. The Buds entered play on Thursday with the fifth-best xGF/60 at all strengths and at 5-on-5.

With Petr Mrazek on the IR and a tough contest Saturday in Pittsburgh, Michael Hutchinson has been confirmed as the Leafs starter for the contest.

For a No. 3 goalie, Hutchinson posted a respectable -1.4 GSAx in a small sample size last season, but his career numbers have been under average.

San Jose vs. Toronto  Pick

The Leafs appear due for an offensive uptick and that breakthrough feels like it could come on Friday night against a Sharks team that figures to be average at best, especially playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

On the other hand, the Sharks have been good offensively in the early going and may take a step forward with Erik Karlsson, Meier, Couture and Hertl all on song and youngsters Dahlen and Eklund looking like the real deal. Getting a few past Hutchinson seems a reasonable ask of this group.

With Hutchinson in goal, it’s hard to trust the Leafs as a big favorite. However, I do see some value taking the Over 6 at -115 and would play it to -130.

Pick: Over 6 (-130 or better)

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