I snapped out of a brief drought with a nice underdog winner on Wednesday night, and followed it up with a 3-1 night with last night’s quartet of free NHL picks.
The first win was the most difficult one of the night and required a comeback.
Indeed, I had the New York Islanders on the three-way moneyline (in regulation) at -120 odds to knock off the Kings, but Los Angeles jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The Islanders managed to head to the third down 3-2, however, and scored just 23 seconds into the third to tie it. Youngter Kiefer Bellows then potted his second of the game with under eight minutes to go and Anders Lee added an empty-netter to seal a 5-3 Islanders win.
At about the same time, I had the Avalanche to win another road game, this time on the puckline (-1.5) at +125 odds in Ottawa.
The game was 1-1 after one, but the Avs took over from there with a pair of second-period tallies and another early in the third and took care of the struggling Senators by a 4-1 count.
Our final win of the night came in Calgary where I had the Predators to notch a road win over the sliding Flames at -105 odds.
Calgary scored just 33 seconds in to grab an early lead, but the Preds quickly replied and added another goal to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. They took a 3-1 lead in the second, and while the Flames replied soon after, the 3-2 score at that point would stand as the final to notch us another winner.
Finally, we look a loss with the Oilers on the three-way moneyline at -120 odds over the shorthanded Sharks on home ice.
The pick looked beautiful with Edmonton jumping out to a 2-0 first-period lead, but it was all Sharks from there. In fact, San Jose would hang six goals in this one while the Oilers had just one more in them in a 6-3 Sharks final. What a poor effort from an Oilers team that had to view that one as a must-win over a Sharks team missing their top two centers.
All told, we notched a 2.05-unit profit and have gone 4-1 with a 3.25-unit profit over the last two nights.
Let’s keep the good times rolling on a four-game Friday night schedule!
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Ducks vs. Maple Leafs from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto!
Ducks vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds
- Ducks (+210)
- Maple Leads (-250)
- Ducks +1.5 (-125)
- Maple Leafs -1.5 (+105)
- Over 6.5 (-105)
- Under 6.5 (-115)
Ducks vs. Maple Leafs NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
It’s been a successful road trip to this point for the Ducks.
They opened the trip with a 3-1 win over the rival Kings before heading east and taking a shootout decisions over the Senators before dropping an overtime decision last night in Montreal despite outshooting them by a 37-27 count.
That’s not to say that they’ve been a good road team this season as they enter this one with a 10-16-3 record away from home on the season where they have struggled at both ends of the ice.
The Ducks haven’t been able to generate much in terms of offense away from home, sitting 29th with just 2.28 goals per game and sport the NHL’s 30th-ranked road power play at just 12.7%.
Despite the successful start to the trip, the Ducks have scored just seven non-shootout goals in the three games, good for just 2.33 per game while their power play is 0 for 6 so far on the trip.
They haven’t been great defensively on the road either, but they’ve been better of late.
Not too long ago the Ducks were approaching the bottom-five road defenses department, but now sit 19th with 3.28 goals against per game, although their road penalty kill continues to struggle, sitting tied for 25th with a 75.3% mark.
Despite allowing just six goals over their last three – all on the road – the Ducks are just 66.7% on the kill in that time, going just 8 for 12.
Anaheim has allowed just 13 goals over their last six on the road, good for just 2.17 goals against per game in that time.
The possession numbers don’t aren’t looking fondly upon the Ducks on the road, either.
At 5v5 on the road, they rank 19th with a 47.57% Corsi For%, 22nd with a 46.51% Scoring Chances For% and 25th with a 43.88% High-Danger Chances For%.
Getting the nod in goal for the road side tonight will almost certainly be backup Ryan Miller as John Gibson took the OT loss last night in Montreal, although nothing is confirmed at this point in time.
Needless to say, this is an opponent Miller is very familiar with from his lengthy tenure with the Buffalo Sabres.
Miller was been dubbed the “Leaf Killer” in the past and enters this one sporting a 2.69 GAA and .916 Sv% against the Maple Leafs in 56 games against them.
That said, the Maple Leafs have certainly solved him of late as they have hung six goals on him the last two times he has visited Toronto.
Nonetheless, Miller enter this one sporting a 2.86 GAA and .912 Sv% on the season across 13 starts and 14 appearances and his splits are quite similar with a 2.88 GAA and .911 Sv% in seven road starts and eight appearances.
Miller has been brilliant in his last two starts – both on the road – allowing just one goal each time and posting a .973 Sv% in that time, winning on both occasions.
The Maple Leafs had a three-game win streak going and held a 3-1 third-period lead against the Panthers on Monday, but ended up losing that one by a 5-3 count before suffering the same fate in New York against the Rangers on Wednesday.
No.1 netminder Frederik Andersen was injured in the Panthers game and didn’t play the final two periods, and backup Michael Hutchinson allowed seven goals over the next five periods as his struggles continued.
That led the Leafs to swing a deal with the Kings almost immediately after Wednesday’s loss, acquiring goaltender Jack Campbell and gritty forward Kyle Clifford, both of whom should make their Maple Leafs debuts tonight.
While the acquisition of Clifford adds a sandpaper element that was lacking with this team, the headliner of the deal is Campbell who will take over the No.1 netminder job until Andersen returns.
As a result, I assume he starts tonight against a familiar opponent himself.
Campbell has posted a 2.85 GAA and .900 Sv% on the season on a last-place Kings team, but also turned in a 2.30 GAA and .928 Sv% in a brilliant year a season ago.
Campbell was just 10-14-1 last season despite those elite numbers, but he will get much more goal support from this Maple Leafs offense.
The Leafs actually score more on the road than they do at home, but they’re still tied for 10th with 3.37 goals per game at home this season and their power play sits ninth with a 24.4% mark at home.
That power play remains white-hot, going 4 for 8 over their last three games and 7 for 16 (43.75) over their last five games at home.
Defense and penalty killing have hurt them, however, as the Maple Leafs rank 22nd with 3.15 goals against per game at home where their penalty kill ranks 21st with a 79.2% mark.
That penalty kill has gone 13 for 14 (92.3%) over their last seven games, however.
Possession-wise, the Maple Leafs own the advantage here.
At home at 5v5, the Maple Leafs rank 10th with a 52.99% Corsi For%, 11th with a 53.32% Scoring Chances For% but fall to 22nd with a 51.65% High-Danger Chances For%. Nonetheless, these numbers greatly outweigh those of the Ducks.
The Maple Leafs are coming off two deflating losses, but seeing their general manager make a bold move to upgrade the roster certainly serves as a pick-me-up in the locker room.
While Campbell is familiar with the Ducks, he actually hasn’t fared well against them with a 3.26 GAA and .896 Sv% against them in five outings.
That said, this Ducks team is struggling mightily on the offensive end of the ice on the road where their power play has been atrocious this season.
On the flip side, the Ducks, although better of late, have largely struggled defensively on the road where their penalty kill as been torched.
The white-hot Maple Leafs power play has lit up ay and all comers since Sheldon Keefe took over back in late November and own the best power play in the league – by far – with a 32.9% mark in his tenure.
We also need to keep in mind that this is the Ducks’ second game in as many nights after a hard-fought OT loss in Montreal last night.
As a result, this is a game the Maple Leafs absolutely must have – and they know it – as they are currently outside of the playoff picture looking in with time running out.
Add it all up and I am going to roll with the Maple Leafs – with their new goaltender in tow – to bounce back tonight with a renewed effort and a puckline win over the visiting Ducks.