NHL Hockey Betting: Toronto Maple Leafs at Chicago Blackhawks

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

The prevailing wisdom is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are ‘trying to lose’ much in the same way that the Buffalo Sabres did last season. The Sabres finished with the worst record in the league and while they didn’t land the top pick and Connor McDavid they did select Jack Eichel at #2. Toronto has moved into the basement of the National Hockey league but they’re coming off a 5-2 win against Vancouver on Saturday night. The competition gets much tougher on Monday as they travel to the United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks who are back in a tie for the best record in the Central Division and the Western Conference with the Dallas Stars. The Hawks appeared to be in control but have lost three straight games, most recently a 3-2 OT loss to Anaheim on Saturday night.

Before anyone hits the ‘panic button’ it’s worth noting that the three losses were to very good teams (San Jose, Dallas, Anaheim) but the fact they came on the Hawks’ home ice and that the scored only four goals in the three games is a concern. That could bode very poorly for Toronto–the Leafs are 10-16 against opponents with winning records while Chicago has eviscerated teams under .500 to the tune of 21-7 +10 units. One thing is interesting–Toronto has scrapped out a winning record against the Western Conference (12-11) which translates to 5.6 units of profit. Chicago is playing without Marian Hossa who’ll be out with a lower body injury for the next two weeks. Richard Panik will replace him in the lineup.

Toronto has a slew of injuries but the most problematic for this game is Nazim Kadri listed as a ‘game time decision’. The Leafs will go with James Reimer in net tonight–Reimer is having a great year and especially considering that he gets little to no help from his defense. Reimer has a 2.29 goals against average despite Toronto being one of the worst shots on goal against teams in the league. Chicago will start backup goalie Scott Darling, mainly to give Corey Crawford the night off. Crawford played a great game in a losing cause on Saturday stopping 41 of 44 shots in the 3-2 loss to Anaheim.

Chicago needs a win and they’re just too much for a Toronto team that doesn’t really mind if they lose.


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