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NHL Betting Preview (Mar 2): Rangers vs Maple Leafs Odds

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Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
Two of the NHL’s hottest teams will meet Saturday for an excellent Hockey Night in Canada matchup as the Rangers roll into ScotiaBank Arena.
Igor Shesterkin is back in Vezina calibre form for the Rangers, which has been the driving force towards an 11-1-0 run entering this matchup. The Leafs have won 12 of 15 themselves, and after Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Coyotes own a 16-11-2 record on home ice.

Rangers vs. Maple Leafs Odds

  • Rangers Moneyline Odds: +107
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -124
  • Puck Line Odds: Rangers +1.5 (-238), Maple Leafs -1.5 (-102)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over +100, under -120)
All odds courtesy of Betano and are subject to change. Create your account with Betano today!
New York Rangers
Despite a new coach in Peter Laviolette, the Rangers have the same strengths and weaknesses as the last several seasons. They are not going to drive possession at an elite rate, but have the avenues to help win games without owning much of the play.
Several of their time on ice leaders such as Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox do a much better than average job of creating ultra dangerous scoring chances due to their strong ability to make east-west passes in the offensive zone. That has helped drive a 12.55%  shooting percentage during their 11-1-0 tear, but even still, that mark likely still isn’t entirely sustainable.
They allowed a 3.43 xGA/60 in February, and the sixth most shots against at 33.81 per 60. Despite allowing so many chances against, they only allowed 2.00 goals against per game where it counts.
Igor Shesterkin is probable to get the start Saturday. He has played to a +11.4 goals saved above expected rating with a .911 save % in 39 appearances this season.
Blake Wheeler and Filip Chytil should remain the only absences from the Rangers lineup.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The totality of the Leafs game has arguably been more impressive than the Rangers recently, and it isn’t surprising to see oddsmakers price them as a favorite here despite the Rangers recent run of dominance in terms of wins and losses.
Of their 12 wins in the last 15 games, 10 have come inside of regulation, and they own a +20 goal differential. Their 54.83% expected goal rating is the fourth best mark in the league in that period. Consistent observers would tell you that their defensive play has been sharper and on average more committed of late. The data agrees with the eye-test on that front, as they have allowed just 2.97 xGA per 60, and just 26.27 shots against per 60.
The Leafs defensive play has looked a little shakier in their matchups versus Vegas and Arizona to start this week. Timothy Liljegren’s absence from the blue-line has been noticeable, and it would certainly be a boost to get him back in the mix. He is considered a game time decision for tonight’s contest.
It’s unclear how the defensive pairs will look if in tonight’s matchup. Maxime Lajoie practiced with Morgan Rielly on the top pair yesterday, but he could ultimately sit in favour of a Leafs debut for Ilya Lyubushkin, or a return from Liljegren.
Ilya Samsonov has been confirmed as the Leafs starter for this matchup. Since January 21st he has played to a .907 save % and 2.45 GAA.
Best Bets for Rangers vs Leafs:
The Rangers have been consistently winning games against the run of play. Shesterkin is back in top form, and they are good at creating ultra dangerous chances with quality offensive zone passing. They are not a side that is ever going to own much of the overall play relative to their dominant record though.
For a sample size as large as a month, the Rangers have allowed 33.81 shots against per 60. The Leafs rank fourth in shots generated during that span, and are a well better than average side in terms of shot generation. My expectation is that the Leafs will get to their recent average of shots on goal, but do not believe that will mean this game gets into an uncompetitive game script.
Betano has the Leafs priced at +115 to record over 32.5 shots on goal, and I believe there is clear value backing the over in this matchup. Anything better than +100 for over 32.5 is a play for me.
Best Bet: Maple Leafs Over 32.5 Shots on Goal +115 (Play to +100)

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