The Toronto Maple Leafs have an opportunity to improve to 10 consecutive games with an earned point tonight, and the only thing standing in their way is a team that they beat by four goals just a week ago. With that said, the New York Rangers are far from slouches, and it’s safe to say that they’ll be looking for revenge after Toronto handed them one of their worst losses of the season. Can Toronto, hot off a Saturday blowout win, give the home fans one more night to cheer on before Christmas?
Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Rangers
The Maple Leafs are home favourites, coming in at -115 (bet365), an edge that’s tightened up overnight.
Maple Leafs vs. Rangers odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds
|Rangers Moneyline Odds
|Maple Leafs -1.5 (+205), Rangers +1.5 (-250)
|6.5 goals (over -105, under -115)
|Dec. 19, 7:00 p.m. ET
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About the Maple Leafs (16-6-6 SU, 8-20 ATS, 16-11-1 o/u)
The Maple Leafs are fully in their “nothing makes sense” phase, and Saturday was no exception. While there was a lot of hype for their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with former Leafs management members Kyle Dubas and Jason Spezza making their first appearances at Scotiabank Arena as visiting executives, that hype received a pre-game dent when it was confirmed that Auston Matthews and TJ Brodie had both caught whatever Matthew Knies and Ilya Samsonov had prior, and were too sick to play. Combine that with Martin Jones starting in the Toronto goal, and fans had every reason to be nervous for a tight game.
The blue and white did what they could but ultimately… only laid down their most dominant win of the season?! It took just two minutes for a returning Knies to put the Leafs on the board, another three for him to get the crowd going with his first career NHL fight, and by the end of the period, Toronto had dictated the tone and widened its gap to three, getting insurance from Mitch Marner and a first NHL goal from Bobby McMann. In the second, Max Domi secured Knies’ Gordie Howe hat trick with his second of the year, and John Tavares and Noah Gregor scored on the power play to turn this into a blowout.
Jones stayed great between the pipes, and with five and a half minutes remaining in the third, William Nylander made it 7-0 with his 15th of the year, sending everyone like me who expected a good night from Jones and a quiet night from the offence into a state of disbelief. Yeah, I bet the over on the 6.5-goal total, and the Leafs laughed in my face with a touchdown. Good for them. But now it’s up to them to carry that momentum into tonight.
About the Rangers (21-7-1 SU, 14-15 ATS, 12-15 o/u)
The Rangers haven’t been up to a ton since the last time we talked about them, continuing to find themselves at the top of the Metropolitan Division’s mountain. Since their last game against Toronto, they had a stretch of rest, followed by back-to-back games against Anaheim and Boston, followed by some more rest.
In those two games, they put together a convincing win against the Ducks, conceding the first goal before scoring five unanswered, and then went into Boston to take on the Bruins. They did the Leafs a bit of a favour here, not keeping Boston completely pointless, but coming back from a 1-0 deficit with nine minutes remaining in the third, and capping things off with an overtime victory.
With those two wins, the Rangers enter Tuesday with the league’s third-best point total and are now tied with Boston for the best points percentage, doing so with two more wins. In essence, they are a first-overall team coming into this one.
New York and Toronto faced off just a week ago, and just like Saturday, it was a game that caught a lot of Leafs fans by surprise, in a positive way. Most thought that Toronto would be spent after an overtime loss to the Islanders the night before, but instead, they took the lead four minutes into the first period and never really looked back. By the end of the first they had gone up 4-1, and while the second period featured a push from the Rangers, they added three more in the third to pull things away. Notably, it was a four-point (2G 2A) effort from Matthews, and a three-point (2G 1A) effort from Marner.
|Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Bobby McMann – David Kampf – Noah Gregor
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Jake McCabe – Timothy Liljegren
William Lagesson – Conor Timmins
Starting In Goal
3-0-0, 1.85 GAA, 0.949 SV%
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Blake Wheeler
Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Alexis Lafreniere
Will Cuylle – Nick Bonino – Jonny Brodzinski
Jimmy Vesey – Barclay Goodrow – Tyler Pitlick
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Erik Gustafsson – Braden Schneider
Starting In Goal
11-7-0, 2.90 GAA, 0.904 SV%
The Leafs lineup welcomes back Matthews and Brodie after recovering from their illnesses. The third pair is subject to change here – while this is the current projection, we could see Simon Benoit draw in for one of Lagesson or Timmins.
The Rangers are who they were last week – a strong top six, and a solid blue line. With that said, the team does lack forward depth (injuries have not helped), and that can cost them at times. Igor Shesterkin is expected to start again for the Blueshirts, despite a poor performance against Toronto in their last matchup.
Artemi Panarin to score a goal
The Maple Leafs have nothing new on the injury front. The Rangers are a little better-healed this time around than they were last week, but are still without two-thirds of the kid line, as Kappo Kakko and Filip Chytil remain on LTIR and aren’t projected to come off any time soon.
- The two teams have split their last 10 games against each other, going 5-5. However, if you bet the puckline in Toronto’s favour, you’d have gone 3-7 and assuming equal bets, lost yourself about 4.3 units.
- Toronto is 6-4 in its last 10 games and 4-6 (look at that big improvement!) on the puckline. The Leafs have hit the goals over in seven of those games. At home, they’re 7-3 in their last 10, 4-6 on the puckline, and have hit the total goals over eight times.
- For the Rangers, they’ve gone 6-4 in their last 10, and gone 3-7 on the puckline. They’ve hit the total goals over four times, landed under it four times, and pushed twice.
Player Prop Trends
- Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad are leading the way for the Rangers of late, with Panarin picking up 13 points (5G 8A) in his last 10 games and Zibanejad picking up 12 (5G 7A). With that said, Panarin has been goalless in his last five games.
- Vincent Trocheck is also a player to look out for, with 11 points (3G 8A) in his last 10 games, along with 40 shots on goal. Most notably, he had both of New York’s goals in its 2-1 win over Boston on Saturday.
- Nylander is starting to scorch again, with 10 points (2G 8A) in his last five games and 21 shots on goal. Marner isn’t far behind with nine points (4G 5A).
Wagers To Consider
- There’s a good chance that the Rangers come into this one fired up to reverse the last time these two teams faced off. In that case, bet365’s boosted Same Game Parlay of a Rangers win, 2+ points for Adam Fox, and a Panarin goal at +700 (up from +575) is interesting. Panarin’s goal on his own at +140 also catches my eye.
- Last time these two teams played, I recommended Matthews’ shots on goal under, noting his history against the Rangers isn’t as trigger-happy as others. That ended up being correct, as he took three shots on a line of 4.5. Well, the line is 4.5 again and he’ll be coming back from an illness if he plays tonight, so I’d consider it again.
- Consider a Morgan Rielly power-play point tonight at +340. He has two in his last three games, including one against the Rangers.