by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs seem to be in the groove that makes them a solid chalk pick at home, although they are up against a Montreal Canadiens team that should be highly motivated to break a slump. The Maple Leafs are -130 favourites and the Canadiens are +110 underdogs with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Toronto is 6-3 in its last nine games against Montreal as the favourite, with the total going OVER in five of the most recent six matchups from that sample at online sports betting sites. The Maple Leafs are also 13-7 in their last 20 home games as a favourite of -120 to -140 on the moneyline, while the Canadiens are 9-11 in their last 20 away games as an underdog of 100 to +130. The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Toronto’s last 13 home games.
Canadiens vs Maple Leafs | OddsShark Matchup Report
Toronto beat Montreal 4-2 on Wednesday for its first win at the Bell Centre in four tries. The Canadiens held slight edges in expected goals-for (56.9 percent) and share of high-danger chances (52.6), but the Maple Leafs’ depth scoring won the day (all advanced stats are from Natural Stat Trick and include only five-on-five play).
The Canadiens are 8-4-2, but are 3-4-0 over their last seven games while averaging only 2.43 goals per game, in spite of holding an edge in expected goals-for percentage (xGF%) in all seven. Coach Claude Julien started juggling his forward lines – with wing Tyler Toffoli moving up to Montreal’s first trio – during a 3-0 defeat against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Bettors will have to decide whether to trust that the changes will immediately pay off for the Canadiens, who rely more on their speed than individual talent to score. Montreal is 5-1-1 when its high-danger shooting percentage (HDSH%) exceeds its season-long 21.4 percent (11th-best in the NHL). The Canadiens are 11-7-2 in their last 20 away games with one day of rest.
Montreal is third in the 31-team NHL in share of shots-for (56.6 percent) as well as second in both expected goals-for (57.5) and in high-danger chances (60.1). The Canadiens are fourth in goal scoring (3.57 per game) and 12th in goals against (2.64). On special teams, they boast the 17th-ranked power play (20.8 percent) and 19th-ranked penalty killing unit (79.7).
Carey Price, who has a 4-2-2 record with a 2.84 goals-against average and .896 save percentage, is Montreal’s probable starting goaltender. Backup Jake Allen played against Edmonton on Thursday. Price has a 7-3-4 record, 2.96 GAA and .903 save percentage in his last 14 games against Toronto.
The Maple Leafs are first overall in the NHL with an 11-2-1 record, and are 12-4-2 in their last 18 home games when they have had two days of rest. They won on Wednesday without scoring a power-play goal and with high-end forwards Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews both losing point and goal streaks. Toronto is 6-0-1 over its last seven games even though its expected goals-for differential has been negative five times (again, in five-on-five play only).
However, Toronto’s emphasis on shot quality over quantity seems to be working, and could be sustainable over the long haul. So far, Toronto is also 6-0-1 this season when its HDSH% is between 10 and 20 per cent, meaning the Maple Leafs typically don’t need exceptional puck luck to earn a win.
Toronto is 20th in the NHL in their share of shots for (49.2 percent), 19th in expected goals-for (49.7) and 19th in high-danger chances (49.8). They are first in goal scoring (3.71 per game) and eighth in goals against (2.57), while boasting the fourth-ranked power play (34.9 percent) and 21st-ranked penalty killing unit (76.9).
Frederik Andersen has a 9-2-1 record with a 2.59 GAA and .908 save percentage this season. The veteran Toronto goalie is also 9-3-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage in 14 career games against Montreal.
Toronto’s next series consists of three home games against the Ottawa Senators, with the opener on Monday prior to back-to-back contests on Wednesday and Thursday.