The Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs are both hitting their stride lately. It took a while for Bob Boughner and the Panthers to get going, but they’ve been playing the best hockey of the year at the moment. The first-year head coach, Boughner, really needed to find some momentum. This season was certainly a mulligan for Boughner, his first ever year as a head coach at the NHL level, but he needed to get something positive energy going forward. Boughner steered the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL to multiple Memorial Cups, and hopes to establish that same level of success in the NHL. Nothing to report thus far, as the Panthers enter tonight with a record of 26-24-3. It doesn’t look like much, but Florida were behind the 8-ball early. They’ve responded nicely lately, with seven wins in their last nine games.
Florida was on a horrid stretch, losing seven of nine, but they flipped it around and got their wins back. Despite a somewhat turbulent year, the Panthers are only 6 points behind the Hurricanes for the final wildcard. The Rangers, Blue Jackets, and Islanders are still ahead of them in line, though. Conversely, the Maple Leafs have been playing at a similar pace of late. Note that they’ve won ten of their last twelve games, as the Leafs said goodbye to a rough patch in January. The Maple Leafs can be streaky, and all it can take is being streaky at the right time to go far. They are comfortably in a playoff spot at the moment with a 13 point cushion on the final wildcard spot. The Leafs are 4 points behind the Lightning for the lead in the Atlantic. Head below for our free Panthers vs. Maple Leafs pick.
Florida Panthers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick
For the Maple Leafs, the offence is finally beginning to take shape again. They started the year off well, tapered off, and are now finding a groove. With a young roster, albeit talented, there will be lulls here and there. It didn’t stop Frederik Andersen from calling out his team, though. The team has responded well to the criticism. In their last ten games they have averaged 4.1 goals per game. That equates to one of the hottest offences on the ice at the moment. They have scored at least 3 goals in nine of ten games. Overall, the Leafs rank 5th in the NHL with 3.26 goals per game. Auston Matthews put a dagger through the Red Wings in their last outing, a 3-2 win in the final minute of play in Detroit.
The Panthers have been finding it easy to find the net as well. Note that they have scored 3.6 goals per game in their last ten games. And most recently, the Panthers lit the lamp an average of 4.75 times per game in the last four outings. However, in their last showing which came against the Jets, they were blasted for a final of 7-2. This is the fifth and final spot on their road trip before heading home for six games in a row. With both of these squads surging, it should make for a good one between the Panthers and Leafs. The offence have been at their best of late and should be on display at the ACC. A play on the OVER doesn’t look too bad in Toronto on Tuesday night.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)