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.
Toronto Maple Leafs Try to Start Second Half on Positive NoteToronto 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 WinsNashville 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.
The top trends for this contest according to Oddsshark.com:
- Maple Leafs are 5-1 in their last six games on the road
- Predators are 5-11 in their last 16 at home
- Predators are 2-5 in their last seven against Atlantic Division teams