NHL Hockey Betting: Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils

NHL Hockey Betting:  Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils

Eastern Conference action on Friday night between a pair of teams heading in opposite directions. The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken points in 9 of their last 10 games (6-1-3) as 2016 first round draft pick Auston Matthews is becoming the versatile, dangerous center everyone predicted that he’d be. Matthews is 4th in the NHL in goal scoring with 20, 1 behind the duo tied for second place (Patrik Laine and Jeff Carter). After several seasons of futility, the Leafs have a legitimate shot at postseason play. They’re currently tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with Tampa Bay and are just two points back of the two teams tied for second (Ottawa and Boston). More importantly, they’ve played better than anyone else in the division of late including first place Montreal.

The New Jersey Devils aren’t at the ‘grease fire’ level of teams like Colorado and Arizona but they’ve been spinning their wheels all year. The Devils are in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division and their bigger problem is that teams at the top half of the division are all playing excellent hockey. Columbus (9-1-0 L10), Pittsburgh (7-1-2 L10), the NY Rangers (7-3-0 L10) and Washington Capitals (6-2-2 L10) are on the verge of running away from the second half of the division. A total of 5 points separate these top four teams but that has left the rest of the division of of the mix.

Toronto will start former Anaheim Ducks’ goalie Frederik Andersen and he’s been solid this year with a record of 16-8-7 along with a 2.63 goals against average and a 0.920 save percentage. He’ll be opposed by Devils’ workhorse Corey Schneider who is somewhat off form this year. Schneider is 12-12-5 on the season with a 2.74 goals against average and a 0.908 save percentage.

Toronto is better than New Jersey in every phase of the game. The Maple Leafs are 5th in the NHL in goals scored per game (3.0) while New Jersey is #27 (2.3). Neither team is great defensively but the Leafs have a slight edge there. Toronto is also better on special teams with the #12 power and #6 penalty kill. All that being said, we’re going to go with the Devils here. New Jersey has been very good at home this season (10-4-2) and the Leafs have a huge game against hated rivals Montreal at the Air Canada Centre tomorrow night.