NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Maple Leafs (Feb. 24)
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kirill Kaprizov #97 celebrates his goal with his teammate Mats Zuccarello #36 of the Minnesota Wild
- The Maple Leafs host the Wild on Thursday night as home favorites.
- The Wild are looking for their second straight win over the slumping Maple Leafs after winning the previous matchup, 4-3, in Minnesota.
- NHL betting analyst Jonny Lazarus breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Wild vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-155|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Toronto Maple Leafs might be in some trouble as they are now on a three-game losing streak. The Minnesota Wild have been a bit inconsistent as of late, but having Toronto in a fragile state might be exactly what they need.
The last time these two teams met, the Wild won 4-3 in Minnesota.
Minnesota Wild Looking to Get Back on Track
The Minnesota Wild are coming off of an ugly loss against the Ottawa Senators. The Wild are a much better team than the Senators in almost every analytical category, yet Ottawa was able to compete and eventually find a way to win. This performance from the Wild was very surprising since they dominated the Edmonton Oilers and won 7-3 in their previous game.
Minnesota has lost three of its last four contests, but it remains one point out of second place in the Central Division.
This will be Minnesota’s third game in five days, so they might not be very fresh, but with the way they play offensively, they should be just fine. The Wild currently have the third-best offense, scoring 3.79 goals per game on 32.5 Shots On Goal per contest.
The Wild will have their hands full defensively as they are up against a very strong offensive Maple Leafs team. The Wild do not help themselves defensively as they are averaging 3.00 goals against per game while giving up 10.47 High-Danger Chances.
The Wild haven’t named a starter for this contest yet, but my guess is that they will go with Kaapo Kahkonen, who is 12-3-2 on the season. He had a great performance in Edmonton on Sunday but sat out the game in Ottawa.
Maple Leafs Slumping
The Maple Leafs have had a tough three-game stretch and are headed back home to try and get back in the win column. Their most recent loss came in overtime in Columbus as they fell short to the Blue Jackets 4-3. They were lucky to even get the game into overtime after Jason Spezza scored a controversial goal in the final five minutes of regulation, which could have been called a distinct kicking motion. Fortunately for the Maple Leafs, the call went in their favor.
The one positive to take away from their last game is that they were the better team for the full 60 minutes. The Leafs outshot the Blue Jackets 42-30 and won the Expected Goals battle 3.39 – 1.69.
The Leafs will be playing this contest on home ice at Scotiabank Arena, where they are 18-5-1 at home.
The Maple Leads haven’t named a starting goaltender yet, but no matter whom they decide to go with, it will be a disadvantage for them as they have allowed 15 goals in their last three games. The Leafs can score goals, but if they want to end this losing streak, they need to focus on preventing goals.
Wild vs. Leafs Pick
Minnesota should have come away with a win in Ottawa, but it got off to a slow start and dug into a hole. Toronto isn’t play bad, but it isn’t playing gritty enough to find a way to win.
After watching most of these teams’ recent games, I expect Minnesota to come out buzzing after having a very slow start in Ottawa. These teams are very even on the offensive end, and Toronto would normally have the edge defensively but not with how they’ve been playing recently.
I think there is great value on a very strong Minnesota team that can play with anyone in the league. The Wild also looked very good the last time these two teams met in December. I’m going with the road team in this one.
Pick: Minnesota Wild ML +135