NHL Monday best bets: Can the Leafs get right in Carolina?
We're kicking off the week with an unusually busy Monday night. Let's dive into the best way to attack this seven-game slate.
Both teams enter this contest on the same trajectory, dropping their first two games of the season and going undefeated since.
The value in this game does not appear to be with either side, but rather the total - and I like the under.
Calgary looks stout defensively at five-on-five, which is to be expected given the club is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Flames rank first in chances against per 60 minutes, giving up fewer than 20, and slot fifth in high-danger chances against per 60. Put simply, Calgary is not allowing a high quantity or a high quality of chances.
New York has also done a good job of limiting high-danger opportunities, sitting eighth in high-danger chances against per 60. Rangers coach Gerard Gallant ran a pretty tight ship with the Golden Knights, so that's hardly surprising.
What is odd though - and promising for the under - is that the Rangers aren't generating much offensively. In fact, no team is creating fewer high-danger chances at even strength than New York.
The Rangers are playing low-event hockey at both ends of the ice and they feature one of the league's best netminders in Igor Shesterkin. Similarly, the Flames are giving up very little and are in good hands with Jacob Markstrom in goal.
I don't think there will be a ton of fireworks in this one.
Bet: Under 5.5 goals (-110)
The Maple Leafs were absolutely embarrassed by the Penguins on Saturday night, and Toronto is understandably taking a ton of flack for that performance. It was inexcusable, especially given the overwhelming number of quality players missing from Pittsburgh's lineup.
With that said, I think it's important to look at the big picture here rather than focusing on one game, and the big picture for the Maple Leafs hasn't been as bad as their early results suggest.
Believe it or not, Toronto is creating a lot of opportunities, leading the NHL in scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances, and expected goals.
Despite their ability to generate consistent looks, they rank 24th in goals. That is because the Leafs are shooting just 5.7%. That is unsustainably low for a team headlined by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares.
Those three forwards have been particularly snakebitten. Each has scored at least 1.8 goals fewer than expected, slotting all three in the bottom 10 in that category.
Their luck is going to change sooner rather than later. It has to because players of that caliber simply can't generate opportunity after opportunity and come up empty-handed over a long period of time.
Perhaps there's no better time for regression to hit than tonight against Frederik Andersen. The former Maple Leafs goaltender is punching above his weight right now, owning a .944 save percentage, and is destined to come down to earth.
Bet: Maple Leafs (-105)
Bonus bet: Kings (+155)
Los Angeles is seventh in expected goals share at five-on-five this season, compared to 28th for the Blues. The Kings should get the better of Ville Husso, who is expected to get his first start of the season for St. Louis.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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