The Toronto Maple Leafs remain an enigma at the moment, showing flashes of what the team can be but continuing to struggle to peel away from games – something that they’ve been either narrowly escaping from, or getting burned by in recent weeks. This weekend, they were burned, losing two games they once led despite being clear favourites in both. This week, they hope to reverse that trend, starting with a grudge match against the Florida Panthers.
Bet on Panthers vs. Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are -135 favourites in this one, a number that has gotten slightly longer since last night.
Maple Leafs vs. Panthers odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds
|Panthers Moneyline Odds
|Maple Leafs -1.5 (+175), Panthers +1.5 (-210)
|6.5 goals (over -120, under +100)
|Nov. 28, 7:00 p.m. ET
|Broadcast: TSN4 (Toronto), TVA Sports (French)
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Maple Leafs (10-6-3 SU, 5-14 ATS, 9-9-1 o/u)
Maybe the Maple Leafs should move to Stockholm. Listen, this is somehow not the craziest idea being thrown out there as back-to-back losses return the disclosure to a state of chaos. Toronto went into the weekend with opportunities to take advantage of a rebuilding Blackhawks team and a Penguins team still finding its footing, and did the opposite, blowing a two-goal lead on Friday afternoon and losing a game they led twice on Saturday.
Tyler Bertuzzi’s icebreaker put Toronto up for just 28 seconds before Jake Guentzel responded in the opening minutes of the first period. Matthew Knies’ sixth of the season kept Toronto ahead for a little bit longer, but Noel Acciari potted his second of the year in the second period and in the dying moments of the middle frame, Erik Karlsson added what would ultimately be the Penguins’ game-winner.
Toronto is in a tougher spot right now than their record implies. They’ve won just five of their 19 games in regulation, their shares of the shot volume and quality are middling, and they haven’t been able to pull away with substantial wins. Just once over the past month has the team picked up a win by more than one goal. It’s not time to pull the plug by any means, but it is time to wonder about where this team stands in the big picture.
About the Panthers (13-7-1 SU, 10-11 ATS, 10-11 o/u)
The Panthers have had a decent start to 2023/24, perhaps overachieving their record with a lot of similarly tight victories but finding a way to stay above people’s expectations. One victory that wasn’t tight was their 5-0 demolition of the Senators Monday night. Florida got on the board just 88 seconds in with Sam Reinhart’s 14th goal of the year, added two more in the second, and two more in the third. But the real storyline was the 177 penalty minutes awarded, largely following a third-period scrum which saw all 10 players on the ice get 10-minute misconducts to end their nights. By the end of the game, both benches were looking like Thursday night beer league.
On one hand, there could be a rest advantage at play here, as this was obviously a gruelling game for Florida, and they’ll be travelling from Ottawa to Toronto to play out a back-to-back. On the other hand, there’s no doubt going to be an adrenaline rush from that game that could spill over to Tuesday.
These two teams last faced each other on Oct. 19, with Florida taking the two points. Late first-period goals by Kevin Stenlund and Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave Florida the padding they needed to work with, and while Mitch Marner halved the gap in the second, the Panthers locked down in a way that reminded everyone of these two teams’ playoff matchup. Sam Reinhart added an empty-netter to wrap things up. Ilya Samsonov stopped 21 of 23 shots, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 30.
|Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Noah Gregor – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano – Jake McCabe
William Lagesson – Conor Timmins
Starting In Goal
6-5-0, 2.92 GAA, 0.910 SV%
Evan Rodrigues – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart
Carter Verhaeghe – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk
Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Nick Cousins
Jonah Gadjovich – Kevin Stenlund – Ryan Lomberg
Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad
Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov
Starting In Goal
Anthony Stolarz (projected)
3-1-0, 2.28 GAA, 0.917 SV%
Is that a winger change in the top six we see? It’s true – the Leafs swapped William Nylander and Mitch Marner’s spots in practice yesterday, and are expected to be keeping it that way for this game. This has been a move that many fans have been clamouring for, and we’ll see how long it lasts – while the Matthews/Nylander and Tavares/Marner duos have thrived in the past, it’s rarely been more than a short-term move in recent years, sometimes committed to yet switched back within minutes.
On Florida’s end, we expect to see by and large the same lineup as we did last time they faced the Buds.
Auston Matthews to exceed 4.5 shots on goal
Nothing new in Toronto. John Klingberg is going to see a specialist in New York about his hip, but that’s the only real update we have. On Florida’s end, Josh Mahura is on IR with a lower-body injury.
- Toronto is 4-6 in their last 10 games against the Panthers, meaning you’d lose 2.36 units had you bet equally on them through the moneyline. If you went with the puckline, you’d be in much worse shape – their 2-8 record in the last 10 matchups between these too would set you back 6.18 units. Betting on the goals under would’ve been advantageous, however, as your 8-2 record would’ve pocketed you 5.27 units.
- Toronto remains a wreck on the puckline. Their 5-2 win against Vancouver on Nov. 11 is the only time they’ve hit on it in the past 12 games. Twelve! They’ve only won by multiple goals in four of 19 games this season. It’s a troublesome trend at this point.
- Florida’s last 10 games see them land at 7-3 on moneyline bets, 5-5 on the puckline, and 5-5 on the goals over. Even breaking down to favourites vs. underdogs, home vs. away, or anything of that sort, there isn’t an obvious trend for them right now.
Player prop trends
- Sam Reinhart is having an unbelievable year, made even better with his two goals last night. He’s got seven goals and seven assists in his last 10 games, along with 19 shots.
- If you’re really looking for shot volume, Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe co-lead the Panthers over the last 10 games with 34 a piece. Aleksander Barkov isn’t a slouch either, with 25.
- Matthew Knies has three goals in his last five games, and Tyler Bertuzzi quietly has five points in this stretch – the high-profile summer signing is finally starting to heat up.
Wagers to consider
- If you want to lean into the big dogs, a meaty same-game parlay from bet365 has Matthew Tkachuk and William Nylander both picking up multi-point games. Typical odds for this are +575, but you can get them boosted at +700 right now.
- I’m curious as to how this game shakes out for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who are the ones the team wants to get going with this winger swap. Individually, their odds for goals and points aren’t all that great given that the books tend to look at the bigger picture. I might have time for a parlay that combines a Marner assist and Matthews anytime goal for a total of +170. Alternatively, if you don’t want to parlay things, I would look at Matthews’ shot prop of 4.5 at +120 and consider the over, as he’ll be getting looks in different areas than he usually does with a new configuration.
- As mentioned above, Matthew Knies is on a bit of a hot run right now and he’s been particularly productive against the Florida teams early in his career. I wouldn’t rule out the anytime goal at +320 – maybe it comes off a Matthews rebound?
- The odds aren’t amazing at -210, but I wouldn’t blame you if you hit the Florida puckline in this one, and basically every opponent puckline until Toronto snaps out of whatever is ailing them.