Following an embarrassing loss to a beleaguered Canucks’ side Sunday evening, the heavily favoured Maple Leafs will look to reclaim their dominance on Tuesday night. Toronto has controlled the North division for long stretches this season, though with improved results from both Winnipeg and Edmonton, their grasp on the top spot is dwindling.
Whether or not Toronto truly does value that number one seed however, remains in doubt. Toronto experimented quite heavily Sunday evening vs. Vancouver with both their line combinations and defensive pairings. And though it resulted in a dominating 4.76 expected goals, the Leafs could only muster two past a red-hot Braden Holtby.
The Canucks were dominated soundly, but did emerge victorious vs. Toronto. They withstood many of Toronto’s onslaughts throughout the game, and dealt with presumed fatigue from a lengthy COVID recovery quite well. Vancouver still possesses an outside shot at a coveted playoff position, though with injuries and a supremely condensed schedule, it’s likely going to take a minor miracle.
Will these pesky Canucks again be up for yet another marvelous upset, or will the Leafs’ dominance finally translate into on-ice results. The standings are quickly tightening in the competitive North division, and expect some real intensity from these two rivals on Tuesday night. For added insight, team news, and a betting prediction, continue reading on beneath the posted odds for our take on Leafs/Canucks.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks Betting Odds:
Toronto Maple Leafs (-300)
Vancouver Canucks (+255)
Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 (-115)
Vancouver Canucks +1.5 (-105)
Over 6.5 (+105)
Under 6.5 (-115)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick:
Despite Toronto’s loss on Sunday night, don’t be fooled for a second and think it was a deserved result. The Leafs dominated virtually every facet of action, registering an impressive 4.7 expected goals in the game, one of the highest marks to date.
In fact, the Leafs likely did win the match late in regulation, but camera angles somehow couldn’t verify the puck crossed the line. Instead, the Canucks pulled off an improbable victory as they recovered from COVID, mostly on the backs of veteran netminder Braden Holtby.
Holtby’s best days are likely already behind him, and though the former Washington Capital is mired in a tough season statistically, his showing Sunday night showed signs of life. It’s expected he’ll be in goal once again for the Canucks, as they look to chase down a playoff spot with all of their games in hand.
Countering Holtby will be new Leafs’ backup David Rittich. The former Flame has looked steady in his first showings with Toronto, and though his stats are average this season (2.82 GAA, and .905 SV%), the Czech netminder has the ability to play much better. In a game where he likely won’t get tested as much as he is used to, Rittich will need to ensure solid focus to deliver Toronto a needed victory.
Though the Leafs are mired in a mini-slump, losers of three straight contests – this isn’t a team that is playing poorly. And though they lost Zach Hyman for a few weeks following a brutal knee injury at the hands of Vancouver’s Alex Edler, the Leafs’ depth should completely overwhelm Vancouver once again on Tuesday night. I’m expecting a tired Canucks team to not have the adrenaline rush of playing their first game back from a lengthy time off and recovery period, and if the Leafs continue to control play – the goals should follow.
The moneyline in this game on Sunday was Toronto -370, though for today’s clash it is a full 70 cents cheaper. Really, not that much has changed to warrant that significant drop-off, and if we see a matchup similar to their last duel – eventually shooting regression will follow the Leafs, and they’ll be rewarded for some well-deserved offense. Expect the Canucks to really miss Alex Edler on the back-end (suspended for his knee on Hyman), and look for Toronto to take out their frustrations in a big way. Leafs in a blowout at -1.5 seems to be a solid wager for Tuesday night hockey action.