NHL Hockey Betting: Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs

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

Sadly, this is as meaningful of a hockey game as Canadian teams will be playing from here on out. The only goal of these teams is to avoid a last place finish. Or at least we *think* that’s the goal–Toronto in particular has a vested interest in finishing last and putting themselves in the best position possible to win the NHL draft lottery and rights to forward Auston Matthews. But to their credit, if the Maple Leafs are looking to ‘tank games’ they’re not doing a very good job of it–they’re a respectable 4-5-1 over their last ten games. More impressively, they’ve pulled off some big upsets during that stretch beating the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning at home and shocking the Detroit Red Wings on the road. They’re currently in last place in the NHL but are just three points back of the hapless Winnipeg Jets.

The Calgary Flames have also shown a pulse in the past week. Although they won’t make the playoffs this year (they’re 12 points out of the final wild card spot in the West with Minnesota and Arizona ahead of them) they’re 5-3-2 in their last 10. That might not seem like much, but for a team that looked like they’d quit on the season not too long ago it’s significant. Sean Monahan earned the NHL’s ‘Third Star’ of the week award for this week with 7 points (5 goals and 2 assists) in four games. The Flames had a 3-0-1 record during that stretch. Calgary has beaten some solid opponents of late winning at Pittsburgh and beating Nashville and St. Louis at home.

This game really is a toss up and the questionable motivations of Toronto makes it even tougher to handicap. The Leafs have actually been better during the second half of the season sneaking up on winning teams than they have playing teams under .500. Toronto is 4-12 second half against losing teams and are on a brutal 15-41 second half run in this spot over the last three years. Calgary’s goaltending is awful but the rest of the team is further along than Toronto and the Flames have better individual scorers like Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.


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