Rangers vs. Maple Leafs NHL Pick – December 22nd

The Toronto Maple Leafs welcome the New York Rangers to Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night for HNIC. They are riding a small two-game winning streak heading into their matchup with the Rangers. It’s only two games, but it’s in the fashion that they won them that is the most impressive. They dismantled the Devils for a 7-2 final and then did just about the same thing against the Panthers, 6-1.

And no, William Nylander didn’t do much in either game to help the Leafs win. He was invisible again, as he is still looking to shake off the rest and get moving in a positive direction. Head coach Mike Babcock doesn’t appear to be too surprised over it, as he stated it was to be expected with Nylander. Remember that he never got to get a training camp or any preseason games, so he’s been well behind the 8-ball this season.

I expect Nylander to start looking better in the second-half. He will go on a run at some point, and it could be a fortunate bounce that goes his way to get things rolling. Toronto belted the Devils and Panthers without him making an impact. Once all of their playmakers start to work in unison, they’re going to be a tough out in the playoffs. That is, of course, if it happens at the right time, which is essentially what the playoffs are all about. The Rangers are in town after snapping a three-game losing streak. They’ve won just two of their last eight games. Get our free Rangers vs. Maple Leafs pick below.

N.Y. Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick

The Rangers were expected to run into issues this season, as they enter what is the first phase of a rebuilding process in NYC. Expect them to ratchet it up at the trade deadline with a fire sale. There are a few veterans on their roster that other teams will be interested in. How far the Rangers go is the question.

Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Hayes are all going to be in trade discussions, but is it going to be one, two, or all three. Henrik wants to ride out into the sunset as a Ranger, so it’s unlikely he gets moved with the no-trade clause in his contract. He can waive it, if he wants, but Henrik has made it clear that he wants to remain in NYC. With the Rangers blowing things up, though, he’s not going to see a Stanley Cup here.

With that in mind, it’s impressive enough that the Rangers are above .500 at 15-13-4. However, they’ve been starting to slip after a pretty decent start to the season. In their last ten games, they’ve scored only 2.8 goals per game while getting blasted for 3.8 goals per game.

Lundqvist needs some help, but he hasn’t been getting much from his blue line. The Rangers have also been awful on the road, with a record of 4-9-2. Out of MSG, the Rangers have gotten mauled for 4.27 goals per game and have scored just 2.53 per game.

I don’t foresee that working too well against the 2nd best goal scoring team in the NHL. The Lightning are the only team in the league scoring more goals than the Maple Leafs. They’ve been hot with 4.2 goals scored in their previous ten and 13 goals in total their last two outings. The Rangers aren’t likely going to be the team to slow them down. Expect a 2 or 3 goal win for the Leafs against the Rangers at home.

The Bet
MAPLE LEAFS -1.5
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek 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 The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.