NHL Hockey Betting: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Hockey Betting:  Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Only one Canadian team in action on today’s NHL schedule and it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs. Canada fans might prefer to tune in to the NCAA basketball tournaments like most American sports fans but since our job is to cover and handicap Canadian hockey we’ll persevere. The Toronto Maple Leafs are more interested in losing games and cutting payroll at this point as Mike Babcock et. al. raze the mess and get ready to start over.

It’s not that Toronto isn’t capable of a big effort when they want to turn one in. Babcock is a good enough coach that he can do this. But Toronto is coming off of back-to-back big efforts–they beat Detroit 1-0 at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday. On Tuesday, they ripped Tampa Bay at home 4-1. They’ve got a good shot of at least being competitive with the Buffalo Eichels…er…Sabres tomorrow night. But this sure looks like a tough spot for them.

As improbable as it sounds the Florida Panthers are still alone atop the Atlantic Division leading Boston by one point and Tampa Bay by two. The Panthers are led by all world goalie Roberto Luongo and legitimate legend Jaromir Jagr who is playing better hockey at 44 than most players twenty years younger. Jagr is by all accounts great with the Panthers’ young stars and as far as having a ‘good role model’ in the locker room? Look down the bench and there’s a guy who has done it all and has a nine figure bank account. He’s still playing because he loves the game. He’s the #3 goal scorer in NHL history and the two guys ahead of him are named ‘Howe’ and ‘Gretzky’. That’s a hell of an inspiration.

Florida is 14-7 against divisional opponents and 15-5 after a win by 2 or more goals. Success begets success for this team. Toronto just doesn’t have the tools to string together victories at this point and especially against top level opponents. They’re 3-19 against divisional rivals and Florida knows they can’t lose focus here. Plus the Leafs’ previous two victories should have the effect of making the Panthers pay attention and focus in this spot.


Related Posts