I dished out a pair of free NHL picks on Wednesday night and enjoyed a whole bunch of success as a result, going 2-0 in fairly simple fashion.
The first winner of the night came in a rivalry matchup between the Canadiens and Bruins where I had the under 5.5 at +102 odds from Boston.
The pick looked good early with a 1-0 Bruins lead after one, then looked a little dicey when the two teams exchanged goals less than a minute apart early in the second which put the game easily on pace for the over.
That said, the Bruins took a 3-1 lead into the third, so the pick had a chance. The third was scoreless all the way to the final minute when Patrice Bergeron potted an empty-netter, but the 4-1 Bruins win managed to keep the total under 5.5.
A little later I had the Canucks on the moneyline at -144 odds to knock off the visiting Blackhawks who were playing their second game in as many nights.
What I didn’t expect was for Chicago to control the possession game in that one as a team that allowed 36.5 shots per game on the road entering this one allowed just 20 and outshot the Canucks by a whopping 49-20 count.
We can thank Jacob Markstrom for shutting the door on those 49 shots while the Canucks were opportunistic at the other end and won this one by a 3-0 final.
All told, we nabbed 2.02 units on the night as we put that one in our pocket and move onto tonight’s 11-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 95-81-1
Now, let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Stars vs. Maple Leafs from Toronto!
Stars vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds
- Stars (+134)
- Maple Leafs (-148)
- Stars +1.5 (-190)
- Maple Leafs -1.5 (+165)
- Over 6 (-105)
- Under 6 (-105)
Stars vs. Maple Leafs NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at both of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
Since taking a 5-3 loss to these Maple Leafs on home ice in Dallas back on January 29th, the Stars have won four of six games including two in a row entering this one tonight.
Now, they’ll head out for the first of three in a row on the road beginning in Toronto against a Maple Leafs team that is pretty much the polar opposite to how this Dallas team operates.
What I mean by that is that the Maple Leafs usually get things done at the offensive end while the Stars win based on their defense.
Entering this one tonight, the Stars rank eighth with 2.82 goals against per game on the road this season and have allowed just three goals over their last two games.
Their penalty kill has scuffled a bit on the road as they sit 19th with a 77.8% mark on the season, meaning this team has been dynamite at 5v5 defensively as their 2.29 goals against/60 at 5v5 on the road ranks eighth in the league.
Their defense-first play is certainly by design but it also often comes at the expense of the offense.
The Stars sit 20th with 2.68 goals per game on the road this season, although their power play has been productive away from home at seventh with a 21.2% clip.
That said, if this game doesn’t involve a parade to the penalty box the Stars could be in trouble offensively as their 1.98 goals/60 on the road at 5v5 ranks 27th in the league.
Possession-wise, the Stars haven’t been great at 5v5 on the road where they rank 25th with a 46.78% Corsi For%, but their scoring chance share improves to 10th with a 49.68% Scoring Chances For% and all the way to fifth with a 51.24% High-Danger Chances For%.
Dallas has also received excellent goaltending on the road with an eighth-ranked .928 Sv%, and we aren’t quite sure who will be tasked with keeping the yeoman’s work going in this one tonight.
If it’s Ben Bishop, he would bring a 2.38 GAA and .924 Sv% into action this season to go along with an 18-12-4 record.
However, Bishop has actually scuffled on the road a little bit – especially compared to his work at home – with a 2.95 GAA and .908 Sv% away from home where he’s gone 6-4-2 on the campaign.
Bishop allowed four goals on 33 shots (.879 Sv%) in the January 29th loss to the Maple Leafs in Dallas.
If it’s backup Anton Khudobin, he too will bring strong overall numbers into this one in the form of a 2.26 GAA and .928 Sv% across 20 starts and 23 appearances.
Khudobin has actually outplayed Bishop on the road, however, where he’s turned in a 2.57 GAA and .923 Sv% on the season with a 9-6-1 record to show for it.
Khudobin would enter this one hot as well, posting a 1.98 GAA and .930 Sv% in February, going 3-0-0 in the process.
The Maple Leafs have had a topsy-turvy last 10 days or so but have overall managed to rack up points nonetheless.
After blowing a 3-1 third-period lead to the Panthers last week, they dropped a 5-3 decision on Broadway but have gone 2-0-1 since including an OT victory at home against the Coyotes their last time out.
It’s still a potent offense as the Maple Leafs sit tied for eighth with 3.41 goals per game at home this season – a number that sits a little below their 3.68 goals per game on the road.
Their home power play has been dynamite after a slow start and has made its way to ninth with a 24.4% mark on the campaign.
It’s the other end of the ice that’s been the biggest concern this season.
The Maple Leafs rank 23rd with 3.14 goals against per game at home this season while their 79.5% mark on the penalty kill at home also checks in at third.
The team’s defense has scuffled at home of late, allowing 3.60 goals against per game over their last five at Scotiabank Arena.
The Maple Leafs are a pretty good possession team at home but not the best in terms of scoring chance share.
At 5v5 at home, the Maple Leafs rank 10th with a 52.83% Corsi For%, 12th with a 53.11% Scoring Chances For% and down to 19th with a 52.25% High-Danger Chances For%. Not terrible numbers at all but we’ve seen much better from rival teams on home ice.
The Maple Leafs have faced some adversity of late with Frederik Andersen sidelined since leaving the first period of their loss to Florida 10 days ago and the team has played their last four games plus two periods without him.
That said, Andersen returns to the crease tonight looking to keep up the good work he has going since the All-Star break prior to being injured.
Since the break, Andersen has turned in a 2.53 GAA and .923 SV% in three starts, but he hasn’t been at his best at home where he owns a 3.16 GAA and .900 Sv% across 23 home appearances.
Andersen turned aside 31 of 34 Stars’ shots (.912 Sv%) while earning the win in Dallas at the end of January.
These polar opposites combined for a high-scoring affair with the Maple Leafs coming out on top on the puckline in their last meeting.
In fact, that was the second consecutive high-scoring affair between the two clubs in Dallas and the third time over their last four meetings there.
However, the last time the Stars visited Toronto it was a 2-1 Dallas victory and the under is 3-1-0 in their last four visits to Toronto, and that’s where I’m leaning for this one.
For one, we are going to have two good goaltenders going in this one regardless of who plays for the Stars.
As well, the Stars are catching the Maple Leafs at a time where they aren’t white-hot on offense as they were for a substantial period when they last met in Dallas.
As noted, the Stars are a low-scoring road offense and one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring offenses at 5v5.
To me, the Stars certainly have the ability to keep the Maple Leafs high-powered offense at bay as the Canadiens did on Saturday and as the Coyotes did on Tuesday, holding the Maple Leads to a combined three regulation goals across those two games.
Add it up and I’m looking at the under 6 from Toronto.