The Toronto Maple Leafs return home to the ACC following a three-game stretch on the road. They also played five of six on the road for not the most fun schedule. Their lone game at home was a 4-2 loss against the Washington Capitals. The Maple Leafs have had their good and bad stretches this year, but for the most part, they’ve been seeing more good than bad. They enter with a record of 17-10-0 and are in a good position to reach the playoffs this season.
It’d be more than a failure of a year if they do not reach the playoffs and have a decent run. A first-round exit isn’t going to cut it for Toronto fans. Not with Auston Matthews leading the way. It’d be unacceptable for the Leafs not to have a good push later this season. In fact, they were favourites to win the Stanley Cup in Vegas. I don’t know how realistic that is, but they certainly have to act like a team who could possibly do it.
Mike Babcock behind the bench provides the kind of leadership they sorely lacked before he arrived. His team also got some great experience against the Capitals in the first-round a year ago. They pushed the Caps all the way to the end, but it ultimately resulted in a loss. It was seen as a win in a way, for the youth on the team to compete with Ovechkin and the Capitals in a long series.
It’s something that may assist them this year, as Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and others gain more experience. The Leafs will welcome a fellow youthful team, well, minus Jaromir Jágr to Toronto on Wednesday night. Johnny Goudreau has a promising future in Calgary, and will highlight many battles against Matthews of the Maple Leafs. Get our free Flames vs. Maple Leafs pick below.
Calgary Flames vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick
While the Maple Leafs are returning home after a road trip, the Flames are heading on the road after a four-game stint at home in Calgary. The Flames went 1-3-0, including a 4-1 loss against the Leafs. They’ve won a couple of games in their last seven games, but they haven’t been nearly as hot as they were earlier. The Flames have been getting worked on defence. In their last two games they’ve given up 12 goals. In most case, when a team allows 7 goals, they bounce back in the next outing. The Flames came back to give up 5 against the Flyers, who were on a ten-game losing streak. Calgary is the medicine the Flyers needed.
On the year, the Flames have allowed 3.26 goals per game, 24th in the NHL. Mike Smith hasn’t been able to stop a beach ball lately, and will have a good Toronto offence on his hands tonight. He enters allowing 10 goals in the last two games. In his last five games, Smith has surrendered a staggering 18 goals. The only game he looked good in was against the last placed Arizona Coyotes, his former team.
In his start against the Leafs at home, he allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for a 3.13 GAA. The Maple Leafs have scored 3.5 goals per game this season which is good for 3rd in the league. Leafs’ netminder, Frederik Andersen, has never lost to Calgary in regulation with a record of 6-0-1. The Flames have also gone 0-5-0 their last five trips to the ACC in Toronto. In fact, neither team likes to fly cross-country, as the home team has won 20 games out of 26 meetings. It should be a good game on Wednesday night, with the Leafs coming out on top of the Flames yet again. Let’s stay hot with our picks in Toronto.
PICK: MAPLE LEAFS (-145)