Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#71 Chicago Blackhawks 6.5 vs.
#72 Toronto Maple Leafs -205
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Written by The Admiral

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL: Saturday, January 18, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, 7:00 PM ET

Saturday night’s interconference clash at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto will see the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second and last time this regular season. The Blackhawks defeated the Maple Leafs 5-4 as slight -105 home dogs in November, recording their second straight win over Toronto. Chicago has owned the Maple Leafs, winning 15 of their last 20 encounters.

The Blackhawks have improved since mid-December, and they bring a three-game winning streak into this clash. On the other side, the Maple Leafs were terrific in December, but they lost four of the previous five games in January.

The Blackhawks stormed the front to upset the Canadiens in Montreal

Chicago is coming off a 4-1 victory at the Montreal Canadiens this past Wednesday. The Blackhawks broke the deadlock shorthanded early in the first period and were up 2-0 after just 8:32 of play as Zack Smith scored twice. Alex DeBrincat scored a power-play goal in the second period, while Drake Caggiula sealed the win 11:40 into the third period.

Corey Crawford had a great game against the Canadiens, turning aside 32 of 33 shots to snap his two-game skid. Crawford is 8-13-2 this season and has a 3.00 GAA and a .908 save percentage. Robin Lehner is 14-7-4 with a 2.85 GAA and a .923 save percentage, recording four wins over his last five starts. The Blackhawks are tied-17th in the league in goals against (3.10) and seventh in penalty killing (83.0%).

On the other side, Chicago scores 2.90 goals per contest (20th in the league). The Blackhawks struggle with the man advantage, converting just 15.6% of their power-play opportunities (27th). Patrick Kane is their best player this season, no doubt. He’s scored 24 goals along with 36 assists thus far. Kane couldn’t find the net in six straight outings, but he’s been tallying at least an assists per game in that span.

The Maple Leafs failed to meet the expectations against the Flames’ stout defense

Toronto is coming off a 2-1 shootout defeat to the Calgary Flames this past Thursday. The Maple Leafs were listed as -145 home favorites, but they were shut down by the Flames’ D and David Rittich who tallied 35 saves during the game and three stops in the shootout. At least, the Maple Leafs played some good defense, and Frederik Andersen finished the game with 31 saves.

The Maple Leafs entered the game with Calgary as the most efficient team in the league. Now, they are second with 3.60 goals scored per game, right behind the Florida Panthers. As well as Florida, the Maple Leafs have been struggling mightily on the defensive end. Toronto is 23rd in the league in goals against (3.23) and 25th in penalty killing (76.1%).

Frederik Andersen has been doing a good job all season, and he’s 22-8-6 with a 2.80 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Still, Andersen has suffered four losses in his last five starts. On the other side, Michael Hutchinson has been awful so far, tallying a 3-7-1 record with a 3.83 GAA and a .885 save percentage. Auston Matthews leads the way for the skaters with 34 goals and 23 assists, while Mitch Marner added 13 goals and 33 dishes.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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This game could easily go either way and don’t let the odds fool you. While the Maple Leafs dropped four of their last five games, the Blackhawks won four of their previous six contests. Furthermore, Toronto lost eight of its last nine home games against the Central Division, while Chicago won eight of its previous nine road matchups with the Atlantic Division. The only reason why I’m backing the hosts to win here is that their offense is a dominant force, and the Blackhawks have so many defensive issues. The money line odds are not tempting, so I will go with the Maple Leafs to cover. They covered a puck line in 11 of their previous 12 wins.

Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 (+110)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The clash between the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs should be a proper high-scoring affair, as well as their first meeting of the season that produced nine goals in the total. The over has hit in four of the previous five encounters between the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs, and all those four contests had seven or more goals in the total. I don’t like to bet on the totals when the line is set at 6.5 goals, but this one just seems like a sure shot. Both teams are poor defensively, while the Maple Leafs are the second-best offense in the league.

Prediction: Over 6.5 goals (-115)
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Written By The Admiral

You want someone to show you how to make some money, then talk to the Admiral, because he is your man. He has been handicapping for many years, so the Admiral knows a thing or two on how to beat the spread and get your pockets loaded with cash. The Admiral has brought his talents to StatSalt & Winners & Whiners and will always find the best pick for you.