Maple Leafs vs. Devils NHL Pick – December 18th





<p>The Toronto Maple Leafs are in Newark tonight, as they hope to find a rhythm with William Nylander on the ice. Since Nylander signed his contract, the Maple Leafs have struggled to look like a Stanley Cup contender. That could just be because they’re getting accustomed and trying to build some chemistry with Nylander. All will likely work out in the end, as I think there’s too much talent on the Leafs roster for them to flounder. </p>
<p>If in fact there is tension brewing in the locker room with respects to contracts, that could be a distraction enough to throw things out of whack. Mitch Marner’s father recently came out and stated that his son should be up for consideration as the captain in Toronto. He does lead the team in points by a wide margin with 43 points. The next closest is Morgan Reilly with 35 points. Marner’s ability to set up teammates separates him from the rest. </p>
<p>In any event, it’s going to be interesting to see what these offer sheets have in store for Marner and Auston Matthews. We’ll see what happens, but Kyle Dubas apparently isn’t worried about other teams trying to snatch them. When everything is clicking for the Leafs, they’re a difficult team to stop offensively. </p>
<p>If Frederik Andersen is locked in, then that could certainly make them a Cup contender. He can go on stretch for weeks at a time where he is dialed in, looking like a Vezina candidate. And then there are other instances where he’s getting blamed for everything. His last couple of performances were not up to par against the Lightning and Panthers. </p>
<p>He allowed 4 goals in each game, which wasn’t all his fault, though. At least their goaltending situation hasn’t been nearly as erratic as the Devils, who have watched Cory Schneider go on a horrid run after returning from an injury. Well, he’s back on the IR with an abdominal strain, so he will have to wait to redeem himself. Head below for our free Maple Leafs vs. Devils pick.  </p>
<h2 class=Toronto Maple Leafs vs. N.J. Devils Pick

With Cory Schneider back on the IR, the starting job is Keith Kinkaid’s again. That isn’t a bad thing for Kinkaid at all, who was playing his best goaltending when Schneider was out to begin the season. As soon as Schneider returned, his confidence appeared to get shattered. Even if Schneider didn’t get injured, I think Devils’ brass were about to pull the plug on him as their full-time starter.

Schneider has been terrible, as he hits the IR with a 4.66 GAA and 0.852 save percentage. Kinkaid hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been presentable at least. He has a 2.88 GAA and 0.906 save percentage with the Leafs coming to town.

Kinkaid was touched up for 6 goals and a 0.812 save percentage in his last outing against Toronto. Schneider has been really bad in net, but also contributing to the poor numbers has been their blue line. Kinkaid has been left out on an island often, too.

The Devils are 27th in the NHL with 3.52 goals allowed per game. They’ve also given up 4.2 goals per game in their previous ten matchups. Meanwhile, they have to deal with a Leafs’ offence who is coming off a couple poor efforts, yet have still averaged 3.9 goals in their last ten games. The Devils had a nice showing defensively against the Preds in their last game, but that would fall into the outlier category.

Despite that, the Devils have allowed at least 4 goals in eight of their last ten. The Leafs will likely be able to get out of the rut they’ve been in the last two games and get the offence rolling in Newark. New Jersey have been solid at home with 3.5 goals scored per game, so it’s not going to surprise me if this turns into a high-scoring affair. Note that the OVER has gone 6-2 with an average of more than 6 goals scored. Go with the OVER between the Maple Leafs and Devils if you’re looking for some NHL action on Tuesday evening.

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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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