Two of Toronto’s trade deadline acquisitions from 2022/23 return to Scotiabank Arena tonight, as the Maple Leafs take on the Nashville Predators in National Hockey League action. Ryan O’Reilly and Luke Schenn, who had key roles in Toronto’s first-round win over Tampa Bay, signed with the Predators to be veteran guides to a rebuild this summer, but tonight it’s all about stealing two points from their former friends.
Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Predators
The Maple Leafs are home favourites with -160 odds on the moneyline.
Maple Leafs vs. Predators odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds
|Predators Moneyline Odds
|Puck Line odds
|Maple Leafs -1.5 (+155), Predators +1.5 (-175)
|Total Goals line
|6.5 goals (over -120, under +100)
|Dec. 9, 7:00 p.m. ET
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About the Maple Leafs (13-6-4 SU, 5-18 ATS, 12-10-1 o/u)
For the eighth game in a row, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fate was decided by a single goal on Thursday night. For the first time since November 17th, the end result was a regulation win. The Maple Leafs went into Ottawa in hopes of tying up the 23/24 edition of the Battle of Ontario and while it wasn’t pretty, they eventually got what they wanted.
Josh Norris opened the scoring for Ottawa in the first period, only for Toronto to respond with three unanswered goals in the second and early third. Jacob Bernard-Docker scored his first NHL goal to bring the Senators back within one, but William Nylander responded with his 13th of the year eight minutes later. An injury to Joseph Woll (more on that shortly) sent Martin Jones into the Toronto net to play the role of closer, and while he did concede one to Claude Giroux with two minutes remaining, the Leafs were able to hold on.
While another ugly win is a big-picture concern for a team that is supposed to be better than scraping by, it’s still a gutsy two points that they’d rather have than not. With a chippy, frustrating opponent on the other side tonight, maybe there are teaching points from the effort that they can take with them.
About the Predators (14-12-0 SU, 11-13-2 ATS, 9-10-7 o/u)
What was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Predators has suddenly turned into a “we’ll see”, in the most positive way. Maybe it’s the makeup of the group, maybe the upgrade to Andrew Brunette as their head coach has made a difference, but whatever it is, Nashville has followed up a 5-10 start with a 9-2 tear, winning six in a row in mid-late November and how finding themselves in the midst of a three-game winning streak with Buffalo, Chicago, and Tampa Bay in their dust.
The team has largely done it by committee. Filip Forsberg is having a mini-resurgence with 30 points through 26 games, but contributions have been spread throughout the lineup with an accountability-first mindset resonating in the Nashville room. Having Jusse Saros in goal helps too – while he started slow, he looks back in Vezina form in recent weeks. Suddenly “we might not be able to trade him if he keeps laying eggs” has become “we might not be able to trade him if we keep winning games”.
Toronto and Nashville last went up against each other on October 28th, with the Leafs ultimately losing in overtime. They had had two leads over the course of the game thanks to William Nylander and Mark Giordano, but Ryan O’Reilly responded twice with powerplay markers. Roman Josi put home the eventual overtime winner.
|Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Noah Gregor – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
William Lagesson – Jake McCabe
Simon Benoit – Conor Timmins
Starting In Goal
4-1-3, 3.57 GAA, 0.878 SV%
Filip Forsberg – Ryan O’Reilly – Gustav Nyqvist
Thomas Novak – Jusso Parssinen – Luke Evangelista
Yakov Trenin – Colton Sissons – Cole Smith
Kiefer Sherwood – Michael McCarron – Philip Tomasino
Ryan McDonough – Roman Josi
Jeremy Lauzon – Dante Fabbro
Spencer Stastney – Luke Schenn
Starting In Goal
11-10-0, 2.93 GAA, 0.904 SV%
Toronto will go with the same lineup as usual as far as skaters go, with no expected changes. Ilya Samsonov returns to the pipes after missing the last couple of days with an illness.
Nashville’s lineup is a list of once-greats, deep-cuts, and obscurities. The perfect trap team, if you will.
Auston Matthews over1.5 points
The Maple Leafs suffered a tough setback on Thursday. While Joseph Woll was in the midst of arguably the best game he’s had yet in the NHL, he suffered a high-ankle sprain on a routine-looking save in the third period. The team announced that he’d be week-to-week, though I wouldn’t exact him until well after the holidays.
Nashville is in pretty decent shape. Cody Glass and Alexandre Carrier are both out of the lineup with upper-body injuries but appear close to returning. I wouldn’t expect them tonight, though.
- According to our friends at Scores and Odds, 86% of the bets and 93% of the money on the major books tonight are headed to Nashville. The savvy bettors don’t trust the Leafs in a favourite position right now and honestly, can you blame them?
- Head-to-head, Toronto are 6-4 against the Predators in their last ten games against each other, but just 3-7 against the puckline. You’d have an approximate +1.45 unit gain by having bet on Toronto equally for all ten games straight up, but be down about -4.27 units betting against them. The goals over has hit in seven of ten games.
- Nashville is pretty hot right now, going 8-2 in their last ten and 7-3 against the puck line.
Player prop trends
- Filip Forsberg has led the Predators over the last ten games in both goals (7) and points (11). He’s also taken a very healthy 38 shots on goal, trailing only Roman Josi (41).
- Thomas (Tommy) Novak is also on a heck of a run of late, with ten points in his last ten games, with the first half of the streak being goal-happy (3G 2A) and the latter half being more assist-driven (1G 4A).
- The Leafs are dull right now. Mitch Marner is the only player at a point-per-game in Toronto’s last five, and that’s buoyed by his hat trick a few games back. William Nylander (6G 6A) is their only point-per-game player over the last ten.
Wagers to consider
- Once again, Toronto’s opponent on the puck line until the Leafs prove otherwise. Toronto has won the puck line just twice since October 26th, despite being the moneyline favourite in almost every single game. The Predators +1.5 is -175 tonight, and they’re typically pretty stingy, so it’s a sensible one to consider.
- If you’re going to lean all the way in on the Predators, bet365 has a same game parlay that features them winning on the Money Line and Forsberg & O’Reilly picking up points. You can get that for +325 instead of the usual +300.
- If instead you want to lean into some of the Leafs stars waking up from their slumbers, you can get a 2+ night for Auston Matthews at +150, or John Tavares producing the same clip at +275. It’s hard to feel optimistic for them right now, but they’re the types of players who can explode at any moment.