NHL Picks: Maple Leafs vs Rangers Point Spread
Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers
Older than dirt, the Toronto vs New York NHL Original Six series takes center stage in the Big Apple tonight. The Maple Leafs and Rangers are meeting for, one moment – let me grab a calculator, the 641st time in their storied history. Though much of the winning was earned in the Stone Age, the Buds hold a 298-247-95 all-time edge over the Blueshirts. In the here and now, New York has won four straight vs Toronto (16-10 margin) although each of those contests was closely contended.
Playing for the first time in six days, and just the sixth time over the past three weeks, New York will be part rested and part rusty as they return to their home pond to host Toronto. The Rangers have won eight of eleven games – including two straight as they posted a 5-2 triumph in Philadelphia (4/01/17) and a 5-4 victory in Columbus during their match last Saturday (7/0/117). The Blueshirts are currently placed fourth in the Metropolitan Division – three points behind the Blue Jackets.
Mike Babcock is the Aaron Rodgers of the NHL as his guidance of the Good Ship Maple Leafs has come with more than a few R-E-L-A-X comments to the Toronto media and fans. Less than two years into his tenure in the Center of the Universe - Babcock has the Buds playing decent hockey. Including two matches prior to the Holiday break, the Maple Leafs are on a solid 6-1-1 recent run. Toronto been off since dropping a 5-3 decision to the Canadiens in Montreal last Saturday.
Maple Leafs at Rangers Prediction
As will be the case with their teammates, TOR G Frederik Andersen (17-9-7 GAA 2.69) and NYR G Henrik Lundqvist (18-9-1 GAA 2.55) will be well rested for the goaltender duel tonight. If rust is going to affect anyone, for better or worse, it is usually netminders. Anderson was a stud on 3+ days rest last season as he went 8-3-2 with a 2.17 GAA in 16 appearances – this year he is 3-1-2 with a 2.89 GAA. Solid last year (8-5-4 / 2.34) Lundqvist has loved 3+ days of rest this season as he is 5-1 with a tiny 1.75 GAA. King Henry has been less than his stellar self at times this season.
Anderson has taken full hold of the starter reigns in TO. Both goalies need to be sharp here as the Rangers (3.43 GPG) are first overall in scoring while the Maples Leafs (3.05 GPG) are sixth and both teams rank in the NHL top six on the power play. The Blueshirts haven’t always hit high notes on Broadway as they are a middle of the pack 13-7-1 at the halfway point of their home schedule. The Buds are in the same boat on the road as Toronto is 8-6-6 as visitors. Expecting a slow start by both teams, but a close game throughout, ride the Rangers with the William Hill (-140) money line.
NHL Picks Week 14
Looking at the rest of the seven-game slate, at the William Hill sportsbook, the New Jersey Devils at Calgary Flames contest at 9:00 PM ET caught our eye. The Devils have been dismal with a 6-11-4 record since the start of December while the Flames have been hot with a 12-6-0 mark during that same stretch. New Jersey dropped a 3-2 OT decision against the Oilers in Edmonton last night. Calgary was solid at both ends of the ice during their 3-2 victory over Pacific Division leading San Jose two nights ago. A concern here, for those who believe teams tend to look ahead, the Flames and Oilers meet for Round 3 of the NHL 2016-17 Battle Of Alberta tomorrow in Edmonton.
As a bonus bet tonight, we are going to lay the -1.5 (+135) Calgary puck line and back the Flames. For all of the NHL Friday night LIVE odds and in-game scores - check out our real time scoreboard. Also, our NFL Divisional Round playoff picks are posted at the top of this page. We enjoyed a 4-0 Wild Card run and we'll look for more of same this weekend. It is an amazing time to be a sports betting fan and the top ranked sportsbooks here at CSB always bring handicappers the best action no matter the sport. Check them out and don’t forget to tell ‘em that StatsGuru sent you!
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