Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#75 Toronto Maple Leafs 6.5 vs.
#76 Nashville Predators -115
Monday, January 27, 2020 at 8:05pm EST
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s an interconference battle on the ice as a pair of teams play their first game after the All-Star break in the Music City. The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the road as they travel to face the Nashville Predators Monday night. Toronto was crushed 6-2 at home by Chicago in their last game before the All-Star break back on January 18. Nashville earned a 2-1 home win over Buffalo in their last game back on January 18. The teams have split the last 10 meetings with the Predators earning a 3-0 home victory in the most recent matchup on March 19, 2019.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Try to Start Second Half on Positive Note

Toronto stumbled into the All-Star break, going 1-3-2 in their last six games as they were blasted by Chicago in their final game leading into the layoff. The Maple Leafs enter this one fourth in the Atlantic Division, four points behind the Panthers for the final guaranteed playoff spot and 13 back of Boston for the division lead. In the wild card race, the team was four points behind Carolina for the second wild-card spot. Toronto is 4th in the league in scoring as they average 3.57 goals per game on the season. The Maple Leafs are 27th in goals against as they allow 3.29 goals per contest. Toronto is 6th in the league on the power play as they convert 24.4 percent of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Maple Leafs are 25th in penalty killing as they successfully shut down 76.3 percent of their shorthanded situations on the year: they have five shorthanded goals.

In their last game before the break, Toronto was hammered by Chicago as they have struggled in their own zone without Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly. In the opening period, the Maple Leafs held an 11-10 edge in shots but trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw Toronto with a 12-11 edge in shots but was outscored 3-2 to trail 6-2 after two periods of action. William Nylander got Toronto on the board with his 22nd of the year, on the power play, at the 25-second mark off assists from Mitch Marner and Tyson Barrie, to make it 3-1. After giving up two more goals to trail 5-1, Alexander Kerfoot netted his eighth of the year at 15:17 off assists from Pierre Engvall and Barrie to make it 5-2. The Maple Leafs gave up another goal to close the scoring. In the third period, Toronto was outshot 13-10 but neither side lit the lamp. Frederik Andersen made 28 saves in the loss for the Maple Leafs, who were outshot 34-33 in the game.

Nashville Predators Seek Back to Back Wins

Nashville had dropped two straight before coming up with a home win over Buffalo to head into the All-Star break on a positive note. The Predators enter this game in the basement of the Central Division, seven points behind the Stars for the final guaranteed playoff spot and 17 points behind the Blues for the division lead. In the wild card race, the Predators stood six points behind the Golden Knights for the second wild card spot. Nashville is tied for 7th in the league in scoring as they average 3.30 goals per game this season. The Predators are 23rdin the league in scoring defense as they allow 3.21 goals per contest. Nashville is 24th in the league on the power play as they convert 16.9 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Predators are 29th in penalty killing as they successfully get through 73.6 percent of their shorthanded situations.

Against the Sabres, the Predators played well in their own end and got just enough offense to skate off with a victory. Nashville owned a 12-7 edge in shots in the opening period but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of action. The second period saw the Predators outshot by a 17-14 margin but they scored the lone goal to tie the game at one after 40 minutes of play. Ryan Johansen tied the game with his 10th of the year at 6:05 off an assist from Roman Josi. The third period saw the Predators with an 11-7 edge in shots on goal and they tallied the lone goal of the stanza that stood up as the game winner. Craig Smith tallied his 11th of the year at 13:31, on the power play, off assists from Kyle Turris and Mattias Ekholm to give Nashville the lead for good. Pekka Rinne made 30 saves for the Predators in the victory.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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This is a good matchup for Toronto to get back on track after they stumbled down the stretch leading into the break after a 9-0-1 run. The Predators struggle in their own end this season, which is a major difference from previous seasons. Age has caught up a bit with Rinne at this point in time as he hasn’t been able to make some of the saves that have been commonplace for him in his career. Rinne has a .899 save percentage, well below his career mark of .918, and he has a -7.71 goals saved above average mark after leading the league with a 27.49 mark in 2017-18. The Maple Leafs have a chance at getting Muzzin back after he’s missed a month with a broken bone in his foot. Toronto’s offense is enough to scratch out a road win here.

Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs -105

Full-Game Total Pick

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Toronto enters this game 13-11-0 on the road on the year. The Maple Leafs own a +7 goal differential (89-82) in those contests and a +27 shot differential (811-784) in those contests. That gives Toronto a ridiculously high 7.13 goals per game in their road contests this season. Nashville is 11-9-4 on home ice on the year. In those games, the Predators have been outscored by two goals (76-74) despite holding a massive +197 shot differential (855-658) this season. That gives Nashville an average of 6.25 goals per game in their home contests on the year. Seeing how both teams haven't played in over a week, there might be a little rust to knock off. Look for this one to end up just under the total, especially if Muzzin returns as expected to help bolster Toronto's blue line group.

Prediction: Under 6.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Toronto has gotten off to strong starts on the road this season. The Maple Leafs have held the lead 11 times in their 24 road games after the opening period this season. Toronto has been tied on seven other occasions, meaning they have trailed after 20 minutes in just six of their 24 road tilts this year. Nashville has held the lead only six times after the opening period in their 24 home games this season. The Predators have been tied seven times and trailed 11 times after 20 minutes on home ice. That's enough to give the Maple Leafs the edge after one period.

Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs

Half-Time Total Bet

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Toronto comes into this contest fairly productive at lighting the lamp early on in their road games. The Maple Leafs have a +7 goal differential (30-23) and a +22 shot differential (279-257) in the first period on the road this season. That gives the Maple Leafs an average of 2.21 goals per game in the opening period this year. Nashville enters the game with a -6 goal differential (21-15) on home ice in the opening period this season. That margin comes despite outshooting the opposition by 77 shots (277-200) in the opening stanza at home. The Predators see an average of just 1.50 goals per game in the opening period on home ice this season. Still, look for both teams to dent the twine in the opening period, pushing this over the number.

Prediction: 1st Period Over
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.