Free NHL Picks: Senators at Maple Leafs Odds
by George Monroy - 1/31/2014
The Toronto Maple Leafs decided to make a few lineup changes after losing four straight games early in the month and immediately reaped the benefits by starting a six-game winning streak. Toronto split up its pair of youngsters, Randy Carlyle and Jake Gardiner, on the first-line and teamed each with a veteran player in different lineups. The move seems to have rejuvenated the Maples Leafs and help push the squad into the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Toronto is hoping to close out a three-game homestand with a sweep when the team faces the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Ottawa is set to begin an extremely road-heavy portion of its schedule when its visits Toronto to start a span of nine road games over its next 12 matchups. The team will also play three and four straight games away from the Canadian Tire Centre during that span. Ottawa is currently in a three-way tie for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with 58 points and will need to step up its road production over the next nine games in order to stay within competitive for that final playoff spot.
Senators at Maple Leafs Betting Story Lines
Toronto’s goaltender, Jonathan Bernier, has been nothing short of excellent during the team’s current hot streak. Bernier is sitting on a .925 save percentage while allowing only 11 goals over his last five matchups. The Maple Leafs, however, have been sluggish on the defensive end of the puck and are allowing their opponents to take a whopping 36 shot attempts per game. The fact that Toronto continues to win impressively while being bombard with shots is a testament to just how good the team’s goaltenders have really been.
The Maple Leafs are coming off a three-goal win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday that saw the 23-year-old Nazem Kadri produce three assists in what was perhaps the best performance of his young career. Kadri is in the middle of a seven-point stretch during his last four games that is included in his 12 points in his last eight matchups. The fourth-year player has become a major contributor for Toronto and is the team’s third points leader.
Ottawa managed to earn two impressive victories this week against the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets and a very good Tampa Bay Lightning team on Thursday. Goaltender Craig Anderson has stopped just about every shot that has come at him over the last five games, allowing only eight goals on 155 shot attempts during that span. Anderson, however, is only 3-3 during his last six starts and has not received much help from a stagnant Senators offense.
The team has played well over its last two games, and things are not all doom-and-gloom for the squad. Ottawa’s points leader, Erik Karlsson, has scored five points in his last five games and continues to add to an already impressive 11-point January in just nine games throughout the month.
Senators at Maple Leafs NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Toronto opened as a -124 favorite over the +113 underdog Senators at BetOnline. The total was set at 5.5 goals, with the “over” being favored at -121. Toronto is 7-0 in its recent games against the Atlantic Division and 5-0 over its last five home games. The team is also 6-0 in its last six against the Eastern Conference and 6-1 in its last seven following a win. Toronto is 8-2 in its last 10 overall matchups.
Ottawa is 5-11 in its last 16 Saturday games and 5-12 in its last 17 games following a win. The team is only 1-4 in its recent games played on one day of rest and 1-4 in its last five road games against teams with winning home records of .600 or better. Head-to-head, the Maple Leafs have won five straight games against the Senators.
Free NHL Picks: Senators at Maple Leafs Predictions
Both starting goaltenders have been stingy in front of the net over their last few outings. Neither team has been an offensive juggernaut, either, so taking the “under” plus a positive payout feels like the best play to make on this game. As for the actual matchup itself, Ottawa has been very inconsistent over the last month of hockey, while Toronto has slowly climbed up the standings into the third spot in the Atlantic Division. Take the home team on the moneyline—this is a matchup that the Maple Leafs can win.
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