Rangers vs. Maple Leafs Odds, Bet & Game Preview: Will Auston Matthews’ Return Give Toronto a Boost?

Rangers vs. Maple Leafs Odds, Bet & Game Preview: Will Auston Matthews’ Return Give Toronto a Boost? article feature image
Credit:

Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitchell Marner

  • After dropping their first two games of the season, the Rangers look to win their second straight game when they face the Maple Leafs on Monday.
  • Jonny Lazarus breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Rangers vs. Maple Leafs  Odds

Rangers Odds +150
Maple Leafs Odds -185
Over/Under 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NHL Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

After a lackluster loss in their season opener, the New York Rangers have started to find their stride. The Blueshirts have a win and an overtime loss in their last two games, but what’s most encouraging is that they are getting those results despite the fact that Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad have yet to score. In fact, only four Rangers have goals this season, though Chris Kreider already has three.

The Toronto Maple Leafs come into Monday night with a 2-1 record after splitting a home-and-home with the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs will be buoyed by the return of Auston Matthews, who is set to make his season debut against the Rangers.

One common theme between both of these teams has been strong goaltending. Toronto’s Jack Campbell has an impressive, albeit unsustainable .968 save percentage, and is second in the NHL with a +4.0 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), while Igor Shesterkin has a .931 SV% and a +1.16 GSAx. Both starters are expected to get the nod on Monday, though the Rangers have said they won’t name starters too far in advance, so keep an eye on that.

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New York Rangers

The Rangers high-powered offense typically revolves around Zibanejad and Panarin, but neither player has found the back of the net. Zibanejad does have three assists and eight shots on goal, but Panarin has been quiet by his standards and has just a pair of helpers and two shots on target.

The Rangers have skated to a 47.6% expected goals rate (xGF%), per MoneyPuck, and have a -1.04 Goals For Above Expected (GFAx). New York has enough scoring talent that it doesn’t need to dominate the scoring chance battle or the shot clock to win games, so neither number is concerning — especially this early in the season.

The Rangers’ depth up top will take a hit in this game, though, as Kaapo Kakko is out and Ryan Strome is in Covid-19 protocol.

On the blueline, reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, has looked even better than he did last year. Fox has three points (one goal, two assists) and 11 shots on goal already this season. Fox is averaging 25:06 of icetime and will likely see a lot of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on Monday night.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The return of Auston Matthews, the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner, is the story in Toronto ahead of this game. Matthews potted 41 goals in 52 games in 2021 and has 199 tallies in 334 career games.

Matthews will undoubtedly provide a boost to a Toronto offense that has scored just seven goals in three games. His return also means that Mitch Marner and John Tavares, who have combined for just two points in three games, will go back to their normal spots in the lineup, with Marner joining Matthews on the top line and Tavares returning to his role as the No. 2 center.

Even without Matthews and with Marner and Tavares struggling, the Leafs have been able to skate to a 53.04 xG%, though they haven’t faced the stiffest competition just yet.

Rangers vs. Maple Leafs  Pick

It’s easy to see why the Leafs are priced as a decent favorite in this game. They’ve only allowed four goals through their first three games and their struggling-but-potent offense will get kickstarted with Matthews back in the fold.

Additionally, this is a pretty decent matchup for the Leafs, as the Rangers’ defense has ranked near the bottom of the league in preventing high-danger scoring chances over the past few seasons. Both of these teams have no problem trading chances and betting on their talent to win out, and that’s why I think that rather than laying the juice on Toronto’s moneyline, a play on the -1.5 puckline could be a savvy bet as this game could be wide open.

Pick: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+135 or better)

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