NHL Picks & Pucklines Tonight
Will Maple Leafs Beat Ailing Blue Jackets?
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t played well against the Columbus Blue Jackets over the past couple of years. Since the Jackets moved to the eastern conference, coach John Tortorella and crew have locked up the Leafs, beating Toronto nine times in 13 games. The last time the Leafs beat the Blue Jackets at home was January 2015.
Fortunately for Toronto, Columbus will be flying into this matchup with a strong disadvantage. Injuries and playing on short rest will challenge the Blue Jackets on Monday night, giving the Leafs a chance to turn around their typical losing trend against their eastern conference rival.
NHL Straight Up Picks & Puckline Predictions
NHL Odds Courtesy Of Sports Interaction
- Columbus at Toronto: Bet Maple Leafs SU (-180)
NHL Lines: Lighting The Lamp
Columbus Dominates Matchup Over Past Two Seasons
The Columbus Blue Jackets have dropped a single game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, winning five of the last six against the Leafs. Columbus recently defeated the Leafs on December 20th, earning a 4-2 win at Nationwide Arena. The Leafs only win during this six-game stretch occurred in March 2017, when Toronto beat Columbus 5-2.
Blue Jackets Play On Less Than 24 Hours Rest
A busy post-Christmas schedule features teams playing a lot of hockey before the all-star break and the Super Bowl take over the airwaves. Columbus will be a victim of terrible scheduling this evening, flying into heavy snow to meet Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on less than 24 hours rest. Taking a red-eye to play hockey in another city is one of the most difficult scenarios for any sports teams.
Both Squads Trending Up
The Leafs and the Blue Jackets endured a difficult week as the calendar switched to 2018, with both teams losing three in a row around New Year’s Eve. Toronto and Columbus responded well after these losses, improving the quality of their hockey to return to the winner’s column. Expect a close matchup between two of the better teams in the eastern conference, despite the Leafs advantage.
Leafs Strong At Home, Blue Jackets Mediocre On The Road
Columbus has a 9-9-3 record on the road and a 15-7-0 mark at home, showing a notable discrepancy between quality of play at home and on the road. Toronto has a 13-6-0 record at home and dropped a single game over the past month at the ACC. That one loss was a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who also shut out the Jackets at home a couple of days prior. As such, Toronto enjoys a strong home ice advantage tonight.
Blue Jackets Forwards On The Limp
Columbus has dealt with a variety of injuries this year, with the latest ailments decimating their group of top six forwards. Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson will miss this clash against the Leafs, placing additional scoring pressure on the shoulders of Artemi Panarin, Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. Nikita Zaitsev will be missing from the Leafs blueline, impacting Toronto’s defense, but the Jackets obviously have a significant health disadvantage this tonight.
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