After an extended break for the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders, the Leafs and Isles meet in Brooklyn on Sunday. It is a rare Sunday game for the Leafs, who are accustomed to playing at home on Saturday nights. The Leafs have had enough time to adjust to this weeks schedule, as they have been off since December 22nd. The Islanders haven’t played since December 21st. The Leafs have played some highly competitive games this season. They have battled, but it’s been a work in progress for Mike Babcock and the Leafs. If hockey scores were counted by shots on net, then the Leafs would be near the top of the NHL in the standings. They’re averaging 30.5 shots per game, yet have a 12-14-2-3 record to show for it. There is something wrong in Toronto. But to their credit, they are facilitating scoring chances and Babcock’s philosophy is working in Toronto. The Leafs just need some playmakers on their roster and they’ll be fine. Hey, Steven Stamkos are you out there?
There are some issues in the goaltending department as well, which goes without saying. If you’re a Leafs’ fan I don’t need to elaborate any further. With the Leafs forced to have to go to Jonathan Bernier, they have been handcuffed there. But does anyone really think James Reimer is the long-term solution in Toronto? He gets hot, then he can get cold, and then the fans blame him for all of the Leafs’ problems. Maybe can’t blame Reimer for all the problems, but go ahead and do it to Bernier. The Leafs need a Carey Price or Tuukka Rask on their roster. They need to find the next elite goalie, I should say. Leafs’ fans probably laugh when I mentioned Rask, as the guy was in Toronto, but the Leafs decided to trade him away, confident in Justin Pogge instead. We all know that worked out so well. Happy football betting Sunday, but let’s look for a winner at the rink as well.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. N.Y. Islanders NHL Pick
The Leafs also need to find their John Tavares. A lot of teams would like a Tavares on their team. Tonight though Tavares is going to be on the Islanders. Maybe revisit us in a year and I will be writing about Stamkos vs. Tavares in this game. The Islanders were stumbling though just before the break. Although, were able to beat the Ducks, 5-2, to avoid going into the Christmas break riding a four game losing streak. Prior to the three losses though, the Islanders went 7-1 in eight games. All is well with the Islanders. Well enough to bring a Stanley Cup to Brooklyn? Debatable.
They get to feast on Bernier tonight, who enters against the Isles with a GAA of 3.21. Bernier has a record of 2-9 with the Leafs, so you figure the Leafs are 12-14-2-3, Bernier is responsible for nine of those losses. It is being reported that Reimer will be back on the Leafs’ bench as the backup tonight. The Islanders have typically torched the Leafs in the past, so it can’t be good news for Bernier. However, the Leafs have had success scoring against the Islanders as well. This stat will tell you the tale of the tape. The OVER between the Leafs and Islanders is 9-1 in their last ten meetings. I have gotten on the winning side of this trend before, and I will try and do it again.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (+115)