Happy Halloween! Today, the Toronto Maple Leafs drew a trick instead of a treat, pulling an unusual 8:00 p.m. ET home puck drop. Nothing too spooky to see here – it’s a national broadcast in the United States, and when ESPN comes calling, the league listens. Nevertheless, it’s a change of pace and an opportunity for the buds to pick up points in a fifth straight game.
Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Kings
Speaking of changes of pace, this is the lone home game in a six-of-seven road run. Toronto is decently favoured in this one, with the odds sliding to its side as we get closer to puck drop.
Maple Leafs vs. Kings odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds||-155|
|Kings Moneyline Odds||+135|
|Puckline odds||Maple Leafs -1.5 (+115), Kings +1.5 (-135)|
|Total||6.5 goals (over -135, under +115)|
|Time/Date||Oct. 31, 8:00 p.m. ET|
|TV||Broadcast: TSN, TVA Sports (French)|
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Maple Leafs (5-2-1 SU, 3-4-1 ATS, 2-4-2 o/u)
Toronto had an opportunity to end the uninterrupted part of its road trip on a high note on Saturday against Nashville, but couldn’t quite put it together. As we suspected, it ended up being a pretty low-scoring affair, with the two teams combining for just five goals. A few things we suspected barely missed – William Nylander getting a goal instead of an assist, Filip Forsberg getting three shots on a line of 3.5, and, well, the winner of that low-scoring affair ending up as Nashville instead of Toronto.
How did they get there? Well, another possibility we mentioned hit really well. It felt like the kind of night where Ryan O’Reilly would step up to give it to his brief former team, and he did exactly that, scoring game-tying power-play goals not once, but twice, negating tallies from Nylander and Mark Giordano.
This eventually sent the game to overtime, where Roman Josi pocketed the winner. Toronto outshot its opponent 35-24 and never trailed, but it ultimately didn’t matter.
For some positives, William Lagesson stayed afloat in his 10:56 minutes of debut time, filling in for Jake McCabe, and John Klingberg had a strong night on the possession front, controlling 72% of the shots while throwing three hits – something you like to see if you’re hoping that his time here rebuilds his form.
About the Kings (4-2-2 SU, 5-3 ATS, 7-1 o/u)
The Kings are the new cool “dark horse” in town, with the pieces of a quality team really starting to come together.
Another big step was made in that direction this summer when Los Angeles made a blockbuster trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois, trading Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and a draft pick for the 25-year-old centre. They immediately followed things up with a long-term extension, securing them another top centre for the next several years. So far he hasn’t fully lit the scoreboard up, putting up five points in his first eight games, but the team hopes the good times will start flowing soon.
Besides, they’ve been relatively fine even without him at his best, putting up a record good for third in the Pacific through eight games. After losing to the Avalanche in their season opener, the Kings have points in six of seven games, only losing in regulation to the frustratingly immortal Boston Bruins, and losing in shootouts to the excellent Carolina Hurricanes and still unbeaten in regulation Vegas Golden Knights.
Los Angeles sits near the top of the league in key 5-on-5 shot & possession metrics, generating the seventh-most shot attempts per hour and posting the sixth-highest share of the attempts (55%). For reference, Toronto sits in 12th. By expected goals, which are a little less predictive this early in the season but still looked to as an indicator of shot quality, the Kings are generating the fourth-highest rate of offence at 5-on-5, the fifth-stingiest rate of defence, and the third-best overall share at 56.5%, while Toronto sits middle of the pack at 16th.
So, while this team isn’t as superstar-laden, at least in 2023 terms, they’ve played quality hockey and will be a serious challenge for Toronto tonight.
Toronto’s last game against the Kings was at home, and it was a decisive victory. The first goal doesn’t really relate much to the current roster, as the departed Pierre Engvall opened the scoring after being set up by the injured Conor Timmins and departed Alex Kerfoot. But plenty of remaining faces did their part, as within the next minute and six seconds, David Kampf and William Nylander would back him up with goals of their own. Seven minutes later, Mitch Marner joined in on the fun, and in the third, Auston Matthews capped it all off. Ilya Samsonov, who likely won’t be playing tonight, stopped 29 pucks for the shutout.
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Los Angeles Kings|
Calle Jarnkrok – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Max Domi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Matthew Knies – David Kampf – Max Domi
Noah Gregor – Pontus Holmberg – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
William Lagesson – John Klingberg
Starting In Goal
3-1-0, 0.961 SV%, 1.33 GAA
Quinton Byfield – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe
Kevin Fiala – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Alex Laferriere
Trevor Moore – Phillip Danault – Arthur Kaliyev
Carl Grundstrom – Blake Lizotte – Trevor Lewis
Mikey Anderson – Drew Doughty
Vladislav Gavrikov – Matt Roy
Andreas Englund – Jordan Spence
Starting In Goal
3-2-1, 0.905 SV%, 2.72 GAA
Nothing really changes here for the Maple Leafs, who are expected to run the same lineup as they did on Saturday.
Over on the Los Angeles end, you see a lineup that’s not in the top contender class but has its share of interesting elements. Their centre depth of Kopitar-Dubois-Danault-Lizotte is among the league’s best, their support on the wings is solid, and while Drew Doughty is their only true “brand name” defenceman, the group as a whole aren’t slouches. The biggest question mark remains in goal, as the Kings have spent less money on their netminders than any other team, though Cam Talbot’s has started off quite a bit better than his year with Ottawa last year, and firmly in “good enough” territory for the time being.
Pierre-Luc Dubois to score a goal
Toronto received a series of good news regarding its blue line this week. Firstly, McCabe’s lower-body injury appears to be a day-to-day issue, and not one with a long-term setback. Their fears with Timothy Liljegren turned out to be short-lived too – his ailment suffered against Nashville won’t make him miss any time. In other words, no new names are out, and a little closer to a previous one returning.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, has just one critical injury in Viktor Arvidsson. The winger was questionable for the home opener, which became unlikely to play in the immediate future, and that became back surgery on the 15th. He’s out month-to-month.
- Toronto is 6-4 straight up against the Kings in the last 10 matchups. This includes a 5-4-1 record against the puckline (for a net gain of +0.55 units), and a 3-6-1 record against the goals over.
- The goals over is a particularly tricky one for them against the Kings at home, going 0-4-1 in their last five.
- On the flip side, high-scoring games have been Los Angeles’ bread and butter of late, whether good or bad. Nine of their last 10 have reached the over, while the team itself has been 4-6 in those games with a 6-4 record on the puckline.
Player prop trends
- We’ve talked a bit on here about how John Tavares keeps on chugging for Toronto. Well, the same can be said for Anze Kopitar in Los Angeles. Now in his age-36 season, Kopitar already has eight points in as many games, good for second on the team in both goals and points. He’s hit the points over in seven of his last 10 games, going back to last season.
- Another Mr. Reliable for Los Angeles right now is Kevin Fiala. The second-year King has just one goal, but he’s picked up 10 assists in eight games to match, helping him clear the assists and points overs in nine of his last 10.
- The last remaining point streak on the Leafs belongs to William Nylander, who leads the team with 12 points through eight games. With points in the last three games of the playoffs as well, this gives him 11 productive nights in a row dating back to last year. Even with his points line moving up to 1.5 midway through this run, and his shots line sitting at 3.5, he’s been a safe bet to clear his lines in recent weeks, hitting on goals, shots, and points in seven of 10, and assists in six of 10.
Wagers to consider
- As with nearly every Leafs game, bet365 is plentiful with pre-made boosted Same Game Parlays for tonight. If you like the Leafs to be the best team on the ice, the version with Nylander clearing 3.5 shots, Tavares scoring a goal, and the Leafs being first to two goals is interesting at +600, up from +525. If you like the Kings, their combo with a Los Angeles win, over 3.5 shots for Adrian Kempe, and a goal for Dubois is sitting at a meaty +1000, up from +850.
- If you’re here for grit, you can combine Matt Roy (LA) and TJ Brodie (TOR) to both clear 2.5 blocked shots at +500, up from +425. Once again, a reminder that blocked shots are measured very subjectively and that you run the risk of a player accomplishing this and it just not counting, so I’d only take this if you think they’re going to clear by a healthy margin.
- Going back to the first bullet point, I’d keep an especially spooky eye on Dubois. Be it Columbus, Winnipeg, or now Los Angeles, Dubois is always a thorn in Toronto’s side, and will likely force himself into the chaos, in one way or another. He currently has the shortest odds to score for Los Angeles, sitting at +160. For reference, their actual goals leader (former Leaf Trevor Moore, who may also be worth keeping an eye on), sits at +260.