While a neutral standings watcher might look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ most recent result, a comeback to snag a point from a team who hasn’t lost in regulation this year, and see reasons to be positive, the vibes in town are far from hot. Or maybe they’re hot, but in the “hot and angry” sense. In other words, there’s a lot of frustration out there right now.
Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Sabres
Toronto has an opportunity to make that go away with a convincing win tonight, though, and they’re home favourites at -220.
Maple Leafs vs. Sabres odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds||-220|
|Sabres Moneyline Odds||+180|
|Puck Line odds||Maple Leafs -1.5 (+115), Sabres -1.5 (-135)|
|Total Goals line||6.5 goals (over -130, under +110)|
|Time/Date||Nov 4, 7:00 p.m. ET|
|TV||Broadcast: CBC, Sportsnet|
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Maple Leafs (5-3-1-1 SU, 4-6 ATS, 2-7-1 o/u)
On Thursday, the Leafs got a conditional pass on the hockey test, and a failure on the snot test. On the hockey side, Toronto fell behind late in the first period when Pavel Zacha potted his fourth of the season and conceded a second goal early in the middle frame courtesy of Jake DeBrusk. The recently-criticized first line found a way to flip their narrative a bit, though, with goals from Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews about a minute apart from each other to tie the game. This was enough to force overtime and a shootout, which the Bruins ultimately came out on top of.
The bigger issue came with an unpenalized play in the last minute of the first, shortly after the opening Boston goal. Brad Marchand sent Timothy Liljegren into the boards with a can-opener style trip that ended his night and has since been confirmed to have given him a high-ankle sprain that will take him out long term. The Leafs’ response was… not much. Ryan Reaves chirped at him a little on the bench, and then everyone just went out and played hockey. The bottom lines and “snot” additions seemed even quieter than usual, with the only real physicality and compete coming from the top players making plays for the puck. Either way, it was far from generating a response.
Now, I’m not someone who thinks that you need to impose yourself as the toughest team in town, or whatever. The game is ultimately decided by goals for and against, after all. But when an organization commits roster spots and millions of dollars to players that they label as assertive and/or protective, you expect them to play their roles when the face of your division rival, a player with a noted dirty reputation, injures one of your own. It was an “if not then, when?” moment, and they failed to meet it.
About the Sabres (5-6 SU, 7-4 ATS, 3-7-1 o/u)
The Sabres are in the midst of yet another “okay, now this is the year the team breaks through” season, with another start that, at least from a standings perspective, puts that in doubt. All the same, there are silver linings to be taken out of it. Most obvious is the fact that their only back-to-back losses have come in the first two games of the year and that the high-powered offence started showing up in the week and a half, stringing together four consecutive 4+ goal games, including wins against New Jersey and Colorado.
With that said Buffalo comes into Toronto fresh off a Friday loss to the Flyers, where they fell 5-1 on home ice after conceding two goals in the opening 91 seconds of the game. Arguably their worst result of the season given the quality of the opponent, and one that they’ll either look to respond to tonight, or not have the energy to turn around. The Leafs will hope for the latter, though this rivalry always seems to bring the best out of the Sabres.
The last game between these two teams saw the Sabres come out ahead, rallying from a 2-0 deficit that the Leafs created in the second period with goals from Auston Matthews and Calle Jarnkrok. Buffalo scored four unanswered, and while William Nylander was able to bring the Leafs back within one in the last minute of the third, it wasn’t enough.
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Buffalo Sabres|
Calle Jarkrok – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Matthew Knies – David Kampf – Max Domi
Noah Gregor – Pontus Holmberg – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano – John Klingberg
William Lagesson – Max Lajoie
Starting In Goal
Joseph Woll (unconfirmed)
3-2-0, 1.88 GAA, 0.942 SV%
Jordan Greenway – Tage Thompson – Brandon Biro
Jeff Skinner – Casey Mittelstadt – JJ Peterka
Lukas Rousek – Dylan Cozens – Alex Touch
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Kreps – Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Connor Clifton – Erik Johnson
Starting In Goal
Devon Levi (unconfirmed)
1-3-0, 3.25 GAA, 0.890 SV%
Max Lajoie makes his Leafs debut in Timothy Liljegren’s absence.
Auston Matthews to score a goal
- As mentioned, Timothy Liljegren suffered a high-ankle sprain on the Marchand trip and has been placed on long-term injured reserve. I’d be shocked if we see him back before the Christmas season.
- The Sabres are without Jack Quinn (Achilles), Matthew Savoie (upper body), Eric Comrie (lower body), and Zach Benson (lower body).
- The teams have split the last ten games against each other at five wins a piece. Buffalo has won the puck line 7 of 10 times, and the goals over has come through 6 of 10, gone under twice, and tied once.
- Toronto’s home record is a pretty dismal 3-7 in their last 10, including a 2-8 record on the puck line.
- Buffalo is 5-5 in their last 10, but 7-3 against the puck line, and are even better on the road (6-4 straight up, 8-2 puck line).
Player Prop Trends
- Casey Mittlestadt seemed to finally arrive in the back half of last season, and the 25-year-old is keeping things going now, with 10 points through 11 games. This includes points in each of his last three.
- Jeff Skinner had a six-game point streak snapped yesterday, but remains in a bit of a renaissance, fresh off a career-best season at 30 years old with another near-point-per-game start.
- William Nylander is now up to ten games on his franchise-record, start-of-season point streak. He’s picked up 14 points across that stretch, leading the team.
Wagers to Consider
- It’s a battle of two Arizonan big men tonight. Don’t be shocked to see both Auston Matthews (-145 anytime) and Tage Thompson (+145) light the lamp. At the very least, we’ll see a solid effort from both, so if goals aren’t your thing, Matthews’ shot line is set to 4.5 (over +110), and Thompson’s to 3.5 (over -115).
- If you really like Matthews to pop off, a boosted Same Game Parlay that clears the aforementioned shot over, has him clearing 1.5 points, and has the Leafs clearing 3.5 goals is up for +325, boosted from +300.
- I expect the Sabres to pour it on after a decently embarrassing loss to Philadelphia. The over on Joseph Woll’s save total is 26.5 (-120), so unless he gets pulled, it wouldn’t be overly shocking to see him clear.