Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#31 N.Y. Rangers vs.
#32 Toronto Maple Leafs
Monday, October 18, 2021 at 7:08pm EDT
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Written by Chris King

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A pair of Eastern Conference and Original Six teams take the ice coming in off victories when they clash in the 6ix. The New York Rangers are on the road as they travel to face the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night. New York comes in off a 3-1 road victory over Montreal Saturday night in their most recent contest. Toronto split a home-and-home set with Ottawa as they bounced back with a 3-1 victory on home ice Saturday night. The Maple Leafs own a 5-2-3 mark in the last 10 meetings between the teams though the Rangers have claimed the last two. That includes a 5-3 win at home in the most recent matchup on February 5, 2020.

New York Rangers Looking for Back-to-Back Wins

New York bounced back from a blowout in Washington to start the year followed by an overtime loss at home to Dallas Thursday as they took care of business on the road over a Montreal team struggling to light the lamp. The Rangers look to make it two straight wins as they bring their 1-1-1 mark into this contest. New York is below average offensively this season as they average 2.50 goals per contest, leaving them tied for 25th in the league in goals per game. The Rangers are tied for 14th in the league in goals against per game as they give up three goals a night. New York is sputtering with the man advantage as they convert 15.4% of their chances on the power play, which ranks 23rd in the league. The Rangers are having issues early on in the penalty killing department as they successfully navigate only 63.6% of their shorthanded situations, putting them 23rd in the league.

Against Montreal in a battle of offensively challenged teams, the Rangers did enough, especially in the later stages of the contest, to come up with the road victory. New York held an 8-5 edge in shots on goal in the opening period but neither side lit the lamp, leaving the game scoreless after 20 minutes of play. The Rangers were outshot 13-9 in the second period of play but they scored the lone goal of the stanza to take a 1-0 advantage to the second intermission. Chris Kreider scored his third of the season, on the power play, at 9:59 off assists from Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin to open the scoring. In the third period, the Rangers were outshot 14-7 but outscored Montreal 2-1 to put the game away. Just 26 seconds after the Canadiens tied the score, Alexis Lafreniere gave the Rangers the lead for good with his first of the season at 9:50 off assists from Zibanejad and Adam Fox. Kevin Rooney closed the scoring by hitting the empty net, unassisted, at the 19:50 mark to seal the win. Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves for the Rangers, who were outshot 32-24, in the victory. He’s expected to get the start in goal for this contest as well.

Toronto Maple Leafs Hoping for Matthews’ Return

Toronto has had their issues offensively in the first three games of the season but they’ve been solid in their own end, keeping them in games. The Maple Leafs split a home-and-home set with the Senators as they scored early and then held Ottawa in check Saturday night. Toronto stands tied for 22nd in the league in goals for as they average 2.33 goals per contest. The Maple Leafs are 7th in goals against by allowing 1.67 goals a night. Toronto stands 15th in the league in power play success as they convert 27.3% of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Maple Leafs are tied for 13th in the league in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 80% of their shorthanded situations on the year.

On Saturday night, Toronto used a strong start to take control of the game and went on to the victory. The Maple Leafs held an 8-6 shot advantage in the opening period and took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes of action. Wayne Simmonds opened the scoring with his first of the year at 2:12 off assists from Travis Dermott and Rasmus Sundin. Later in the period, Alexander Kerfoot made it a 2-0 game with his first of the year at 8:06 off an assist from William Nylander. In the second period, Toronto held a 15-10 shot advantage but was outscored 1-0, trimming their lead to 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. The final period saw the Maple Leafs with a 6-5 edge in shots and they scored the only goal of the period to earn the win. Michael Bunting scored his first of the year at 7:57 off assists from Timothy Liljegren and Kerfoot to close the scoring. Jack Campbell made 20 saves for the Maple Leafs, who held a 29-21 edge in shots on goal, in the win. With Petr Mrazek injured, he’s likely to be in net again here. Toronto also hopes to get Auston Matthews, who won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer with 41 in 52 games last season, back here. He missed the first three games recovering from offseason wrist surgery.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Both teams are coming in off victories in their previous contest and each owns a victory over a struggling Montreal team. The Rangers are on the road here and they have to contend with a Toronto team that has won both their home games this season. Campbell has been stellar in his first two starts plus a relief appearance in the road loss to Ottawa when Mrazek went down. He’s posted a 0.86 GAA and a .968 save % in the first week of the season. Toronto has played well at home and the potential return of Matthews could only bolster the offensive attack. The Rangers won Saturday, but they were waxed in their other road game by Washington. We need to see more from New York on the road before you can have faith in them right now. Look for Toronto to prevail on home ice here to improve to 3-1-0 on the year.

Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs -179

Full-Game Total Pick

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Goals have been at a premium in the early going for these teams. The Rangers have seen totals of six, five and four goals in their first three games, giving them an average of five goals per game on the year. New York has seen an average of five goals per game in their two road contests and the under is 2-0-1 on the season in their games. Toronto has posted totals of three, five and four goals in their three games for an average total of four goals a night. The Maple Leafs’ two home games have seen an average of 3.50 goals per game and the under has cashed in all three of their outings. New York has seen the under go 4-0-1 in their last five against Eastern Conference teams while the under has hit in each of Toronto’s last five games. Look for this one to be another low-scoring affair to end up under the mark as the teams are still getting up to speed.

Prediction: Under 6

Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.