NHL Betting Preview (April 16): Panthers vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are just two games away from another shot at the Stanley Cup Playoffs – a chance to rewrite history and shake off the cobwebs of underachievement in their competitive window. To do that, though, they’ll have to beat some tough opponents, including their projected first-round opponent, the Florida Panthers. As luck would have it, they get one last warmup shot at them Tuesday night. There are a lot of storylines at play – let’s dive in and see what exactly is at play.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Panthers

TOR +125
FLA -139

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The Maple Leafs are road underdogs, coming in at approximately +125 on the moneyline.

Panthers vs. Maple Leafs Best Odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds+125 @ Betano
Panthers Moneyline Odds-139 @ Betano
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs +1.5 (-189) @ Proline+
Panthers -1.5 (+185) @ Sports Interaction
Total Over 6.0 goals (-115) @ Caesars
Under 6.0 goals (+106) @ Pinnacle
Time/DateApril 16, 7:30 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

Betting Toronto Maple Leafs (46-24-10 SU, 33-48 ATS, 43-35-2 o/u)

While it’s all pretty elementary in hindsight, the Maple Leafs may have gotten a little too caught up in the excitement on Saturday night. While they had an opportunity to cap off another impressive comeback, tunnel vision came into play late in the game and led to an overtime loss to the Red Wings.

Things started extremely poorly, particularly in goal. Mitch Marner opened up the scoring with a power-play maker after a questionable hit from Joe Veleno on Timothy Liljegren, but before the first period closed, the Red Wings scored four goals in a little under 10 minutes. Nick Robertson responded midway through the second, and shortly after, Auston Matthews buried his 69th goal of the season. John Tavares tied the game with his 27th, but the focus was clear on that point. Every touch from Matthews carried a different energy, and his linemates were more than happy to feed him the touches.

So much so, that when Toronto got went on the power play with three minutes remaining in the third, it felt like the hockey game became secondary, with everyone focused more on getting one specific man the shot. Matthews obliged, eventually getting to 10 pucks on net in the evening, but perhaps the forest was lost for the trees a bit. Max Domi eventually took a penalty of his own, and Dylan Larkin secured an overtime win for Detroit shortly after.

There isn’t much left to play for this season, with Toronto’s seeding all but secure at that point and locked in now. So it’s understandable why the team focused on an individual milestone. But with this being a playoff prep game, hopefully the team either focuses less on it, or Matthews gets it out of the way quickly.

Betting Florida Panthers (51-24-6 SU, 40-41 ATS, 29-49-3 o/u)

On the other side, the Panthers are starting to figure things out at the last minute, which is the last thing that the Maple Leafs want to hear right now. When Florida had last faced the Buds, they had lost six of eight and were about to lose eight of 10. Now? They’re winners of four of five, albeit against some weaker competition. They’ve shut out Ottawa twice, shut out Columbus once, beat Buffalo in overtime, and lost to the Bruins in overtime.

What’s particularly concerning, though, isn’t the wins and losses. It’s that the Panthers have been able to slow the game down again, leaning into their strengths. Florida not only got great goaltending performances out of Sergei Bobrovsky and Anthony Stolarz, but they kept all five of those opponents to 30 shots or fewer. Toronto’s biggest issue against the Panthers in last year’s playoffs was their inability to generate offence, thanks to Florida’s relentless forecheck and stingy defence, scoring just 10 goals in five games. That the team is getting primed to play that way again is a tough sign and puts fate between the pipes once more – and if Bobrovsky is even somewhere in between last year and their last matchup, that’s a troubling sign.

Last Matchup

The last game between these two teams was just a few weeks ago on April 1st, and for those who expected the usual low-scoring affair, the game was an effective April Fools’ Day prank. The Maple Leafs opened up the scoring in the late first period with goals by Nick Robertson and Auston Matthews just 33 seconds apart from each other and ballooned their lead to 5-1 by the end of the second.

That much was encouraging, but Florida’s pushback ended up a bit more concerning, as Vladimir Tarasenko led the way with a goal and two assists, bringing the game within one with a little under two minutes to go. Not interested in blowing a four-goal lead, Matthews gave the fans a rare empty-net goal, his second tally of the game and 62nd of the season, to seal the deal.

Projected Panthers and Leafs Lines

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Florida Panthers Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Matthew Knies – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nick Robertson – Pontus Holmberg – Noah Gregor
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves

Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Joel Edmundson – Timothy Liljegren

Starting In Goal
Joseph Woll
12-10-1, 2.88 GAA, 0.907 SV%
Vladimir Tarasenko – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart
Nick Cousins – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk
Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundel – Evan Rodrigues
Steven Lorentz – Kevin Stenlund – Kyle Okposo

Gustav Forsling – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour
Uvis Balinskis – Dmitry Kulikov

Starting In Goal
Anthony Stolarz
15-7-2, 2.03 GAA, 0.926 SV%

Max Domi and Bobby McMann’s sudden absences (more on that shortly) have the Maple Leafs playing with a lineup more befitting of their early-season plans up top and their deadline vision on the bottom, with the scoring punch stuffed into the top lines while the rest of the team looks to play heavy. We’ll see how it works out for them, particularly when you see the depth of Florida’s four forward lines on the other side, even with them resting talent of their own.

Auston Matthews to score his 70th goal of the season


Panthers vs. Maple Leafs Injury Concerns

The Maple Leafs are without Max Domi and Bobby McMann tonight, with the former nursing a longer-term minor injury, and the latter having suffered a lower-body injury against Detroit. Domi is expected back to start the playoffs, while McMann remains to be seen.

The Panthers have two key injuries, with Carter Verhaeghe out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury, and Aaron Ekblad out day-to-day with a similarly undisclosed injury. Both players are expected to be back for the playoffs.

  • The Panthers have had the edge in this matchup over the last 10 games, winning six of 10, and putting up an 8-2 advantage against the puckline. The total goals line has hit the under in nine of 10. This dates back to March 2023 – a divisional rivalry and a playoff series give you a lot of recent hockey!
  • The Maple Leafs are 6-4 in their last 10 games, splitting the puckline 5-5 while also splitting the total goals over. They’ve fared better on the road, going 4-1 in their last five and going 5-0 against the puckline.
  • Florida is 5-5 in their last 10 games, going 4-6 against the puckline and clearing the total goals over three of the last 10 times. Home ice has been an advantage of late, going 4-1 in their last five, though they’ve only gone 2-3 against the puckline and all five games were unders on total goals.
  • Auston Matthews continues to be the driving force for the Maple Leafs over their last 10 games, providing an insane 11 goals and 55 shots on goal, and team team-leading 55 points.
  • Leading the Leafs in assists over their last 10 games is Mitch Marner, who has seven. That’s more impressive when you remember that Marner has only been back from injury for five games.
  • Alexander Barkov leads the way for the Panthers in their last 10 games, producing a team-co-leading five goals, a team-leading seven assists, and naturally, a team-leading 12 points. Sam Reinhart, who shares the goals lead, also leads the team in shots on goal with 35 over those 10 games.

Panthers vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

  • Auston Matthews’ chase for 70 goals is now nearing the finish line, sitting just one goal away from modern history. You better believe that all of the attention is going to be on him, more than ever. The markets here are all over the place, but the best value is at Fanduel (-110). If you don’t think tonight is the night, Bet99 is offering an under at +100.
  • While the focus will be on a specific goal, the total goals will likely be on the low end here. Toronto’s eyes will be on Matthews to some extent, and Florida has both late-season tuning and a need to respond to their last loss to the Leafs in mind to keep things defensive. You can grab under 6.0 goals at +106 on Pinnacle.
  • If you feel like the Panthers will take this game, an interesting boosted parlay at bet365 features a Florida win, 3+ shots from Matthew Tkachuk and a goal from team leader Sam Reinhart. Normally at +350, this trio is available at +400.

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