The National Hockey League returns from the 2024 All-Star Break, and it’s only fitting that the hosts are among the first back in regular action! The Maple Leafs, who sent (or rather, kept back), four of their star players to participate in the festivities, return to action against the New York Islanders, in the same rink that they were playing short 3-on-3 games at just two days prior. Let’s dive straight into the action ahead of Monday night’s puck drop!
Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Islanders
The Maple Leafs are home favourites, with the moneyline currently sitting at -170, with some momentum gaining in the Leafs’ favour overnight.
Maple Leafs vs. Islanders odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds
|Islanders Moneyline Odds
|Maple Leafs -1.5 (+145), Islanders +1.5 (-165)
|6.5 goals (over -120, under +100)
|Feb. 5, 7:00 p.m. ET
|Broadcast: Sportsnet, TVA Sports (French)
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Maple Leafs (25-14-8 SU, 15-32 ATS, 24-21-2 o/u)
The Maple Leafs were the stars of the show this weekend – at least, four of them were. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Morgan Rielly represented the blue and white on home ice in the 2024 NHL All-Star Game. Matthews, Rielly, and celebrity co-captain Justin Bieber pulled the necessary maneuvers to land Marner and Nylander on their All-Star roster, and Team Matthews came away as victors in the main event on Saturday, beating Connor McDavid’s super-squad in the final.
An All-Star victory, no need to commute, and a four-game win streak coming into Monday night’s game. That’s a lot of momentum that the Islanders can’t possibly match, right?
About the Islanders (20-17-12 SU, 23-26 ATS, 27-19-3 o/u)
Well, New York will be able to match a little bit of it, as Team Matthews couldn’t stand to be without a Mathew. Islanders Star forward Mathew Barzal was part of Team Matthews’ run to victory, picking up three points in the final and even setting up one of Matthews’ goals. Needless to say, the Leafs will be right to be cautious of any secrets that he may have stolen from that weekend, hoping to build on a year where he’s already matched his total points from last year with 10 games in hand.
He’ll be returning to an Islanders team that’s at a bit of a crossroads, though. For example, since the Leafs last visited Long Island, the team has changed coaches – Lane Lambert is gone, and Patrick Roy is in. The Islanders won their first game with their new boss, snapping a four-game losing streak against the Stars on January 21st, but have since dropped games to Vegas, Montreal, and Florida. It’ll be interesting to see if the bit of extra prep time gives Roy the ability to fine-tune the group for the second half of the season.
The Leafs and Islanders have played against each other twice this year, and they’ve both ended with the exact same score and method of finality. The process was a little different on January 11th than it was on December 11th (and hey, why wasn’t this game scheduled for February 11th?). Kyle Palmieri put the Islanders up 1-0 just 40 seconds in, but the Leafs took control of the wheel for a while from there, tying the game courtesy of Bobby McMann at the midway point of the period, followed by Auston Matthews scoring a pair in the opening three minutes of the second. Within two minutes, Alexander Romanov cut the lead in half with his fourth goal of the season, and with Timothy Liljegren in the box, Bo Horvat scored a power-play tally to tie the game up.
A scoreless third period brought this one to overtime. Unlike the last game, where Horvat would play hero, this time it was Mathew Barzal, taking advantage of a… questionable shift from Jake McCabe that created an icing and an open lane for the winner.
|Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs Lines
|Today’s New York Islanders Lines
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Noah Gregor
Pontus Holmberg – Bobby McMann – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano – Jake McCabe
William Lagesson – Simon Benoit
Starting In Goal
8-3-6, 3.36 GAA, 0.878 SV%
Anders Lee – Bo Horvat – Mathew Barzal
Pierre Engvall – Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin – Kyle MacLean – Cal Clutterbuck
Alexander Romanov – Noah Dobson
Samuel Bolduc – Sebastian Aho
Mike Rielly – Scott Mayfield
Starting In Goal
14-12-9, 3.17 GAA, 0.909 SV%
Not a lot changes for the Maple Leafs going into this one, outside of the likely rotation of David Kampf and Bobby McMann (more on that below). Ryan Reaves appears to have earned himself another game by coming out of the IR and finally delivering a useful fourth-line evening, even picking up a goal in his home province. While Reaves’ roster spot merit has been fiercely debated, most would love to see him play up to it. We’ll see if that was a one-off or the start of a nice run.
The most interesting part of this matchup to me is in goal. Sorokin, while still above average, has not been his elite self this season, and Samsonov, while still by-the-numbers terrible, has been fantastic since his “hockey vacation” with the Marlies.
Mathew Barzal (NYI) to score a goal
Toronto is somehow a little more banged up coming out of the break than going in, with David Kampf looking doubtful for tonight due to an injury in the last game against Winnipeg that “didn’t settle well”, in Sheldon Keefe’s words. Calle Jarnkrok continues to recover from a broken knuckle, and Joseph Woll is getting closer to coming back from his high ankle sprain but isn’t there yet. On the plus side, Bobby McMann could return tonight from his undisclosed injury from a week and change ago.
The Islanders are missing a lot of players, many of whom were out the last time these two teams played, like Ryan Pulock, Robert Bortuzzo and Casey Cizikas. Hudson Fasching, Adam Pelech, and Matt Martin were all day-to-day going into the All-Star break, so the thought is that at least Martin (illness) will be back.
- The Islanders have had the better of this semi-rivalry of late, winning three in a row dating back to last March, and four of the last five. Zooming out to November 2019, though, they’re split 5-5 over the last 10 games between each other.
- The puckline goes slightly further into NYI’s favour, with a 6-4 edge over the last 10 matchups. The total goals over has hit half of the time.
- As far as general success, the two teams were on opposite trendlines going into the All-Star break. The Islanders lost three in a row and eight of their last 10, with similar failures on the puckline. The Leafs are 4-0-1 in their last five, but continue to struggle against the puckline (2-3, and 3-7 in their last 10). Pulling away from underdogs has been an issue this year that the team will want to mend in this second half.
Player Prop Trends
- The most productive Islanders skater heading into the All-Star break hasn’t scored a single goal in their last 10 games. It sounds crazy, but it’s true! Noah Dobson has 14 assists in that stretch, and is on a five-game point streak, despite being goalless in his last 14 games.
- Trailing him is the more predictable Mathew Barzal, with two goals and nine assists in the same stretch. Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson, and Kyle Palmieri are co-tied for the goals lead, with four in their last 10. Palmieri has taken the most shots in that stretch, with 40, including 26 in his last five games.
- On Toronto’s end, Auston Matthews leads the way with 10 goals and three assists in Toronto’s last 10 games. He’s also taken 37 shots on goal, which leads the group. Mitch Marner is tied with Matthews for points with 13 in his last 10, and his eight assists lead the team.
Wagers To Consider
- If you’re hoping for a core four explosion tonight, one of the most interesting Same Game Parlays, oddly enough, doesn’t feature Auston Matthews. Instead, you can stack John Tavares getting 2+ shots on goal, William Nylander getting 2+ points, and Mitch Marner getting 2+ assists for a boosted line of +550, up from +475. This will likely require a dynamite power play, so factor that into your decision-making process here.
- If you’re on team “Auston Matthews anytime goal no matter what”, the show goes on with a -135 line tonight. Unsurprisingly, it’s the shortest odds you’ll get for any player in either lineup, by a good margin.
- After playing with the buds over the weekend, I could see Mathew Barzal having a big encore tonight. His shot line sits at 2.5 (-160), and he sits at +190 for an anytime goal.
- bet365 seems to favour the over on total goals tonight and I think that’s a fair assessment. It’s safe to assume that players won’t be super sharp in their first game back from the break. Some would consider that an omen for the under, but I see it the opposite way – goals are often the product of mistakes and there should be plenty of opportunities for both teams tonight, unless Sorokin and/or Samsonov stand on their heads.