Posted in: NHL
All good things come to an end and that’s what happened to my four-pick win streak in last night’s pick between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.
The pick didn’t look too bad for most of the game, especially after the first period as the game was tied at 0-0 after the first 20 minutes of play. From there, however, it mostly went downhill. The Bruins and Blues exchanged goals early in the second period before doing so again later in the second, giving us a 2-2 game after 40 minutes.
A Chris Wager tally put us on the ropes just 5:27 into the third period and the Bruins would go on to score two more goals in the final frame, the last of which went into an empty net in an eventual 5-2 Bruins win, going over the 5.5 total in the process.
Winning streaks don’t last forever, but there’s nothing holding me back from getting a new one started in a matchup between the Maple Leafs and Panthers from Sunrise.
Season Record: 10-7
After a hard-fought victory over the NHL’s best team last night in Tampa Bay, the Maple Leafs conclude their Florida swing tonight against a struggling Panthers team at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
It had been a struggle for the Maple Leafs since Christmas as they went just 2-5-0 since the holiday break, but they broke out of their slump with a complete effort and knocked off the league-leading Lightning as road underdogs last night at Amalie Arena.
Tonight, the Maple Leafs will visit a place where they’ve struggled to find success in recent meetings, going 0-4 over their last four at Florida.
However, this Leafs team is due for a run and they are catching the Panthers at the right time.
Florida enters tonight’s contest riding a seven-game losing streak, a streak that has seen some terrible results at both ends of the ice.
Scoring goals has been an issue. The Panthers have scored just one goal in each of their last two games and have averaged just 2.14 goals per game over their losing skid.
Preventing goals hasn’t been any easier. Florida has allowed at least four goals in every one of those seven losses and have averaged 4.43 goals against per game in that stretch.
Goal-scoring actually hasn’t been a problem for this Panthers team at home this year as they rank 10th with 3.37 goals per game at home this season. However, they also rank 26th with 3.16 goals against per game at home and are facing the league’s best road offense in this one tonight.
After scoring four goals (including an empty-netter) last night in Tampa Bay, the Maple Leafs maintained their league-leading pace of an even four goals per game on the road this season, notably better than second-place Colorado and their 3.67 mark.
Contrary to popular belief, the Maple Leafs are one of the NHL’s better defenses, wherever they play. Overall, they rank eighth with 2.83 goals against per game this season, and while that number slips a little bit to 2.95 on the road, it’s still good for the 10th-best mark in the league.
After getting injured on opening night, Roberto Luongo came out of the gate strong this season with a .951 Sv% across his first four full games of the season. However, it has been mostly downhill since then. Check out Luongo’s save percentage by month this season.
Overall on the season, Luongo sports a 3.35 GAA and .892 Sv% while it appears father time is finally catching up with the 39-year-old veteran after he posted an outstanding 2.47 GAA and .929 Sv% in 35 games last season.
It’s also possible the Panthers could give backup James Reimer a crack at his former club tonight. If that’s the case, Reimer will bring a 3.21 GAA and .893 Sv% into action while he’s 0-2-2 with an .881 Sv% across four January starts.
No matter how you slice it, this deadly Maple Leafs road offense is going to be facing some shaky goaltending tonight, something I believe can get them over the hump in this venue.
You don’t keep good hockey teams down long, and this Maple Leafs team is a good hockey team. After losing five of seven, I have a feeling that they are bound to go on a run heading towards the All-Star break, and I think we are getting them at a reasonable price despite the back-to-back scenario and the fact starting goaltending Frederik Andersen will sit this one out.
I’m on the Leafs tonight on the moneyline.