A couple of teams that are squarely in the playoff hunt, the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs face off at Scotiabank Arena. The first puck will drop at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 4, and fans at home will be able to catch this Eastern Conference matchup live on CBC Sports.
New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs Odds
Toronto (-160) is currently favored over New York (+140) and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at an even 6 goals. The line for betting the total stands at -105 for the over and -115 for the under.
New York is 25-14 straight up (SU) and has netted moneyline bettors 8.4 units this year. Through 39 regular season contests, 22 of its games have gone under the total, while 15 have gone over and just two have pushed. The Isles are 12-7 SU as a road team in 2019-20.
New York has converted on 19.6 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 17th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 80.9 percent of all penalties.
For the team as a whole, the Isles have been sent to the penalty box 3.5 times per game overall this season, and 4.4 per game over its last five road outings. The team has been forced to kill penalties 8.8 minutes per game over their last five outings.
Averaging 25.5 saves per game with a .921 save percentage, Semyon Varlamov (15-10-3) has been the top option in goal for New York this year. If head coach Barry Trotz chooses to rest him, however, the team might turn to Thomas Greiss (11-8 record, .919 save percentage, 2.58 goals against average).
Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson will both look to continue their strong seasons for the visiting Islanders. Barzal has 34 points via 16 goals and 18 assists, and has recorded multiple points nine times. Nelson has 15 goals and 16 assists to his name, and has notched at least one point in 19 games.
Toronto is 23-19 straight up (SU) and has lost 1.9 units for moneyline bettors thus far. Through 42 regular season matches, 23 of its games have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under and just two have pushed. It’s 10-9 SU at home this season.
The Maple Leafs have converted on 23.9 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a mark that places it in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 28th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 75.4 percent of all opponent power plays.
Maple Leafs players have been called for penalties only 3.2 times per game this season, 3.0 per game over their last five games total, and 3.2 per game over their last five at home. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays just 6.9 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
Frederik Andersen (29.1 saves per game) has been the primary netminder in the crease for the Maple Leafs. Andersen has 21 wins, 12 losses, and four OT losses and has recorded a .916 save percentage and 2.67 goals against average this season.
The home team offense will be led by Auston Matthews (27 goals, 22 assists).
New York Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Picks
Pick: SU Winner – Maple Leafs, O/U – Over
Eight of Toronto’s last ten games have been decided by two or more goals, and the team is 7-1 overall in those games.
Power plays and penalty kills could prove to be critical in this matchup. The Islanders are 3-3 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 16-10 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Maple Leafs are 9-7 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 18-15 in games where their penalty minutes are in the single digits.
Toronto is 1-2 in games decided by a shootout this season while New York is 3-1 in shootouts.
New York may hold an advantage if this one comes down to the wire. The team’s an impressive 13-6 in games decided by one goal, while Toronto is 5-9 in such games.
The total has gone over in four of the last five matchups for both teams.
New York is ranked 32nd this season with 15.1 giveaways per game. That figure has trended lower lately, however, as the team’s averaged 13.4 giveaways over its last 10 games and 12.8 giveaways over its last five.
Toronto skaters have averaged 12.0 giveaways over its last five home games, a rise over its season average of 11.1 giveaways per game (ranked 24th in the NHL).
New York skaters have given out the most hits in the league (29.9 per game).