The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t have had starts on the opposite end of the spectrum. In NYC, the Rangers were upset by the Avalanche. The same Avalanche team who finished last a year ago and had an offseason filled with drama and controversy. Henrik didn’t get off to a start he was looking for, allowing two quick goals after having one of the worst years of his career in 2016-17. The Avs went on to win the game by a score of 4-2. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs blew the Winnipeg Jets out, taking home an easy 7-2 win. It was 7-1 before the Jets tacked a late goal on.
Patrick Marleau played in his first ever game as a Maple Leaf. He made an impact right out of the gate, potting 2 goals and showing that age doesn’t mean a thing. We’ll see how he holds up throughout the season, but after one game he looks fresh as ever. The usual suspects also got on the score sheet, including Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews.
The ceiling is sky high for the Maple Leafs. With the guidance of Mike Babcock behind the bench, and a talented core of youngsters, the Leafs are only going to get better from here. With some more experience under their belt, they are not going to be known as the Laffs anymore. Coupled with the resurgence of the Edmonton Oilers, Canada is going to have a couple of good teams on their hands for the foreseeable future.
Connor McDavid vs Auston Matthews is going to be a rivalry talked about like Sidney Crosby vs Alexander Ovechkin. It’s a new age player rivalry. They will always be compared, just like Crosby and Ovechkin have been their entire careers.
Crosby won that battle, with Stanley Cups to his name, while Ovechkin doesn’t, yet anyway. As far as the Rangers are concerned, they will only go as far as their goaltending will take them. Henrik needs to find that switch to find vintage Henrik Lundqvist. We’ll see how he does against the speedy Maple Leafs tonight at the ACC. Head below for our free Rangers vs. Maple Leafs pick.
N.Y. Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick
The Avalanche scored a couple of quick goals on the Rangers, but they tied it back up by the end of the 1st period. That was all for them, as the Avs got their season off to a nice start. Could this be a sign of things to come for the Rangers? Mika Zibanejad was the only one to get on the board for the Rangers, scoring both goals in the 1st. The offense was great for the Leafs in their first game, but perhaps most impressive was their defensive effort, and the performance of Frederik Andersen.
Andersen had a heck of a time finding his groove at the start of last season, his first in Toronto. Once the jitters were gone, he played much better. He finished with a GAA of 2.67 which doesn’t look good, but he was turning a corner. Andersen needs help, though, and I think the Leafs are getting better on defence overall. It will take another two years or so before they get on the same level as their offence, though. The OVER is 7-1 between the Rangers and Leafs in their last eight meetings in Toronto. 7 goals in a 4-3 final looks about right here. After that abysmal performance against the Avalanche, I expect a much better effort, but this Leafs team is going to be tough for the Rangers to contain.
PICK: OVER 6 (-105)