Blackhawks vs. Maple Leafs Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Maple Leafs find themselves as the favorite at home, as they are getting odds of -130 to win. The Blackhawks are listed with a money line of +110 to win, while the over/under total has been set at 6.5 goals. Chicago won both meetings with the Leafs last season. Tonight’s game takes place from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. It will air live on the NHL Network.
Chicago is off to a 2-0 start with an incredible 15-2 goal advantage. The Blackhawks beat the Penguins 10-1 at home and the Blue Jackets 5-1 at home. This will be Chicago’s first road game of the 2017-18 season. The Hawks are averaging 36.5 shots per game while allowing 31 per contest. Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman each have six points to lead Chicago while Brandon Saad has a team-high four goals. Corey Crawford has looked great in net, posting a 1.00 GAA with a .968 save percentage.
Toronto is also 2-0 this season with an impressive scoring display. The Maple Leafs picks up a 7-2 win at Winnipeg to start the season and then an 8-5 win at home over the Rangers. The Leafs are averaging 36 shots per game while allowing 36 as well. Amazingly, with having scored 15 goals, no single player has more than two. Nazem Kadri has two goals and two assists while Auston Matthews has one goal and three assists to lead the squad. Frederik Andersen hasn’t been terribly stellar thus far, posting a 3.50 GAA with a .903 save percentage.
Both teams looks as if they can clearly score, but the concern for me is with Toronto’s ability to keep the puck out of the net. They have allowed seven goals over two games and they can’t just rely on out-scoring opponents. Especially when playing a team as talented as Chicago. Chicago has the balance of offense and defense. The sweep in last year’s playoffs looks like it had a lasting impression on the players during the offseason, as the Blackhawks seem on a mission already.
NHL DAILY PREDICTION: CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS +110