The NHL is set up with another great slate of action throughout December 18. Six games are up on the board throughout Saturday night. One of these matchups will be between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks. These two teams have had opposite starts to the season, but will look for a big win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Toronto has earned a record of 20-8-2 to start out the season, which has them sitting in second place of the Atlantic division. The Maple Leafs have won two games in a row and three of their last four. Toronto is tied for the top spot of the division, but have played one extra game. I expect the Maple Leafs to come out fast on the road.
The Canucks have put up a record of 14-15-2 to open up the season, which has them in seventh place of the Pacific division. Vancouver has won six games in a row and eight of their last nine. The Canucks are six points out of the second seed in the division. Vancouver will look for a quick start and a big win on Friday night.
These two teams have opened up the season on opposite sides of the standings. Vancouver has picked up their play a lot recently, winning all their games since Bruce Boudreau took over. The Maple Leafs have been strong throughout this season and will look for a big two points in this one. If either team can grab an early lead in this one, it could be enough for the win.
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-1 ½ (+195)||-118||Over 5 ½ (-107)|
|Vancouver Canucks||+1 ½ (-225)||+107||Under 5 ½ (-103)|
|Team Data||Toronto Maple Leafs||Vancouver Canucks|
|Away/ Home Record||8-4-1||8-7-1|
|Goals Per Game||3.27||2.52|
|Goals Per Game Away/ Home||3.38||2.31|
|Save Percentage Away/ Home||.923||.925|
Toronto Maple Leafs
- 4-3 in December
- 5-3 on Saturday
- 0-1 when playing on three or more days of rest
- 10-3 after non-Conference game
- 10-4 in non-Conference game
- 7-3 after a win by two goals or more
- 5-4 against team with losing record
- 7-1 in December
- 1-4 on Saturday
- 3-4 after division game
- 7-7 in non-Conference game
- 2-3 after win by two goals or more
- 4-5 after scoring four goals or more
- 6-8 against team with winning record
These two teams met up nine times throughout last season. The Maple Leafs earned a record of 5-3-1 throughout the season series. Toronto will look to keep up their strong streak with a win in this one. Vancouver will look to avoid their third straight loss against the Maple Leafs. If either team can come out strong in this one, it could be enough for the win.
Clash with the Canucks
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 18, 2021
The Maple Leafs have been strong on special teams to open up the season. Toronto has capitalized on 26 of their 85 power play opportunities, which is a 30.6 percent power play. The Maple Leafs have killed off 69 of their 84 penalties against, which is an 82.1 percent kill rate. Toronto is 2nd on the power play and 9th on the kill.
Vancouver has struggled on special teams throughout this season. The Canucks have scored on 20 of their 102 power play chances, which is a 19.6 percent success rate. Vancouver has given up 31 goals on their opponents 94 power play attempts, which is a 67 percent penalty kill. The Canucks are 13th on the man advantage and 32nd on the penalty kill.
Toronto has been much better on special teams to open up the season. The Maple Leafs have an elite power play and penalty kill this season. The Canucks have struggled on special teams, but will look to find a way to shut down Toronto’s power play. If the Maple Leafs can get their power play going in this one, it could get enough for the win.
I expect Jack Campbell to get the start in the crease for Toronto in this one. Campbell has earned a record of 15-5-2 throughout his 22 starts on the season. He has posted a .937 save percentage and a GAA of 1.94 in those matchups. Campbell’s last start was against the Edmonton Oilers. He stopped 35 of 36 shots in the win.
Thatcher Demko will likely get the nod in net for the Canucks on Saturday night. Demko has started in 25 games this season, going 13-11-1 in those outings. He has put up a save percentage of .919 and a 2.63 GAA in those outings. Demko finished with 34 saves on 36 shots in his last start against the San Jose Sharks in the win.
These two goalies have been strong throughout this season and will look for a big win in this one. Demko has won five games in a row and seven of his last eight games. Campbell has won three of this las five. If either goalie can come out strong on Saturday night, it could be enough to lead them to the big win.
These two teams have been strong as of late and will look for a big win in this one. The Maple Leafs have been the better team overall this season and will look to hand Vancouver their first loss under Boudreau. Toronto has the edge on special teams and in net and I think they will break through with a victory on Saturday.
BetOnline has the Maple Leafs listed as a -118 against the money line in this one. This implies that Toronto will win this game around 54.1 percent of the time. I think that this line is accurate with the Maple Leafs being the better team this season. As slight favorites in this one, I really like the value on Toronto in this one.