NHL Hockey Betting: Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference rivals go at it on Thursday night as the Philadelphia Flyers host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both teams played on Wednesday night so all records and stats are pending those results. The Flyers are in a rather tenuous position in the Eastern Conference where they’re the ‘best of the worst’ in the rugged Metropolitan Division. They’re in fifth place leading the pack of teams tied with 49 points–the Islanders, Hurricanes and Devils. The problem is that they’re 11 points behind the fourth place New York Rangers and unless they really pick up their play quickly they might not have enough season left to close the gap. That also puts them in a tough spot relative to the Wild Card standings. The Metropolitan Division is so tough that the fourth place team will be a shoe-in for the wild card. Currently, the New York Rangers hold down the top wild card spot with 63 points putting them 10 ahead of the second wild card team, Toronto with 53 points. Unless the rest of the East starts to close the gap there’s realistically only one wild card spot up for grabs at this juncture. Philadelphia is the first team out with 52 points but there are a couple of problems–Toronto keeps winning (6-2-2 L10) and there’s the entire rest of the conference coming at them from behind. The Flyers are two points ahead of Florida and three points ahead of..uh…every other team in the East. As bizarre as it sounds there are six teams tied with 49 points–Carolina, Buffalo, Detroit, Tampa Bay, New Jersey and the Islanders.

The Leafs are roughly in the same boat but they’ve got a lot more momentum. Auston Matthews has been as good as billed (if not better) and they look like a team that is only going to get better. Frederik Andersen is ‘penciled in’ for this game but in the second of a back to back situation it might be a spot to play veteran backup Curtis McElhinney. Flyers, likewise, have Steve Mason ‘penciled in’ but might want to go with Michal Neuvirth in the second of back to back games. No line on this game yet but when it goes up the Leafs are the play.