Talk about two franchises in different positions. Both the Islanders and Leafs have been punching bags for the greater part of the last ten years, but one is trending up and the other is still looking for answers. It wasn’t that long ago, though, that it looked like the Leafs were going to be that team heading upward. It all pretty much ended in 10 minutes against the Boston Bruins in the playoffs in that infamous game where they blew a 3 goal lead late. Actually, I should note the brief stretch of success they had this season, where it looked like the Leafs were going to be heading back to the playoffs. Remember when they had the stroke of success on the west coast against heavyweights like the Ducks and Kings?
It appeared heading back home after that they were going to be competing in the playoffs. In reality, it was the beginning of the end for the Leafs. The losses began to pile up after that run out west. The losses came, and then the firing of Randy Carlyle came, and now the tank job is in full-swing. Additionally, there is going to be a total rebranding of the Leafs coming with respects to their core. I don’t expect Phil Kessel to be in Toronto much longer nor do I think Dion Phaneuf will be there. Both centerpieces of the current Leafs roster. You can come to your own conclusions about Phaneuf and Kessel.
The New York Islanders are truly a team that the Leafs would want to model themselves around. Just like the Leafs they have been at the bottom of the abyss, but have risen up to produce a 42-21-1-3 team. The Leafs need to find their Tavares, which will be difficult because he isn’t a player easy to duplicate. A little luck by falling into the right player and right moves from the front office will bring the Leafs closer to the Islanders’ territory. The Islanders not only have Tavares, but the team has a host of other talent that has turned them into a winner. I knew they were going to be talented, however they have exceeded my expectations along with many others.
N.Y. Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs
The Islanders are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they aren’t strangers to one another. Since early 2012 this will be the 10th time they meet up. The Islanders have gotten the better of the Leafs by a game with a 6-4 edge. In their last matchup the Isles were able to get by the Leafs, 3-2. That isn’t a typical result for this series. Offense and goals have dominated the scene between the Islanders and Leafs. For the Islanders goals have been easy to come by. They have been averaging 3.09 goals per game for 2nd in the NHL. The Leafs have been allowing just about that much, with 3.07 goals allowed this season. In their last five games they’ve given up 4 goals per game so look out for the Islanders taking advantage of the Leafs here.
The Leafs have had a good history scoring on the Islanders. Their last five meetings against the Isles produced an average of 3.8 goals a game. Likewise, OVERs have been easy to come by in Islander/Leaf games. In their last ten games it has gone 9-1. the only UNDER came in their last game where it was only one goal short. There have been 68 goals scored in those ten games, with an average of 6.8 being scored in total. Additionally, the OVER has gone 5-0 in their last five meetings in Toronto. This has been an auto-bet for me the last five or so games against these two and I’m going to look for more tonight. Not to be deterred by the last score, I am going back at the Islanders/Leafs OVER 5.5 Monday night.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110) 5DIMES.EU – BEST ODDS