Free NHL Picks: Maple Leafs at Wild Odds
by George Monroy - 11/12/2013
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a bit of a slump and have not won a game in regulation since the end of October. The team needed overtime and a shootout to beat the New Jersey Devils last week, and they have started the second month of the season losing two of their first three games. The Maple Leafs have fallen to the third spot in the Atlantic Division, but they will be looking to turn things around over the next few games as they play a very good Minnesota Wild team on Wednesday night and then head to Buffalo for a home-and-road situation against the struggling Sabres.
The Wild are set to open a three-game homestand against the Maple Leafs, and then they face two sub-.500 squads in the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets. Minnesota is sitting on a very good 24 points, which would have them in the top spot if they placed in the Eastern Conference. However, over in the West, 24 points is only good for a three-way tie for the sixth spot in the standings. The Wild know that their excellent play as of late—where they’ve won seven of their last nine matchups—needs to continue in order to make up ground in the Central Division where they are currently the fourth-ranked team.
Maple Leafs at Wild Betting Story Lines
Toronto went into the third period of their last matchup against the Boston Bruins with a 1-1 tie and left the game with a 3-1 loss. The team not only gave up two goals in 20 minutes worth of plays, but they were also unable to produce any meaningful offense in a huge divisional game. The Maple Leafs took the same number of shots as the Bruins but simply faded at the end of the game. One big area of concern for Toronto is the number of shot attempts they give up per game. The Maple Leafs defense allows opponents to take 36.5 shots per game, and that nightly barrage of attempts is beginning to take its toll on a team that is already struggling on the offensive end.
Toronto has only managed to score two goals in regulation over their last three games, and as a result the team has lost two of those games. The Maple Leafs are usually a solid team on the offensive end of the ice and are currently the 10th-ranked team in the NHL in goals scored with an average of 2.9 per game. In general the team is also a solid defensive team, even though they give up so many shots, and they are ranked eighth in league in goals allowed with 2.4. However, they have allowed nine goals over their last three games. The team’s three-game slump and overall lack of effort might have to do with fatigue and playing on the road quite a bit as of late. Toronto has played six of their last nine matchups away from the Air Canada Centre.
Minnesota is playing fantastic hockey over their last nine games and has managed to earn points in eight of those games. The Wild are coming off a victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday where they did not play great but still managed to get their first shootout win of the season. The team’s defense has been extremely good lately and has allowed only six regulation goals during the last five games. Part of the team’s success has been their puck control and only allowing opponents to take 24 shot attempts per game.
Maple Leafs at Wild NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Minnesota opened as a -142 moneyline favorite, according to the odds at BetOnline. Toronto is receiving +129 odds for the matchup, and the total was set at five goals, with the “over” being a slight favorite at -110. The Maple Leafs are receiving -245 odds on the puckline, while the Wild are getting +205 odds. Toronto is 6-2 in during last eight games versus Western Conference teams but is an excellent 4-1 against teams with home records of .600 percent or better this season. Minnesota is 7-1 during their last eight home games and is 4-1 over their last five against the Eastern Conference. Head-to-head, the Maple Leafs are 8-3 during the last 11 overall meetings, while the home team in this series is 8-3 during the last 11 games.
Free NHL Picks: Maple Leafs at Wild Predictions
Toronto is a very good squad that is in the middle of a slump. The team is not scoring on offense and is allowing far too many shot attempts against their already tired goaltenders. Wednesday’s matchup is a situation where the Maple Leafs’ poor play is likely to continue. Playing on the road seems to be the team’s biggest issue, and facing a streaking Minnesota squad that has been playing excellent defense over their last nine games, will probably not help Toronto pull off a victory. Take the Wild on the moneyline.
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