The first place Toronto Maple Leafs will aim for their seventh win of the season when they host the St. Louis Blues Saturday night from the Air Canada Centre. The Blues are coming off a 3-2 road loss to the Canadiens, and the Maple Leafs were blanked 3-0 by the Penguins in their previous action. The Maple Leafs won both meetings against the Blues last season.
Blues Sluggish Start Continues
The St. Louis Blues head into this challenging matchup in desperate need of a win. They are currently riding a three game losing streak which included a 3-2 loss to the Canadiens on Wednesday night. Blues’ leading scorer Brayden Schenn added his third goal of the season in Wednesday’s defeat. The 27-year old center tallied a career-high 70 points last season, and he is off to a strong start, collecting six points in six games. Schenn has fared well against the Leafs in his career, notching eight goals and six assists in 21 games. Blues’ offseason addition Ryan O’Reilly has yet to score with his new team, although he does have five assists. The nine-year veteran tallied an assist in Wednesday’s loss, and he owns a weak -5 rating on the year. The Blues have had two of their losses occur in overtime, and their lone win came in a 2-1 triumph over the Blue Jackets.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) October 18, 2018
The Blues will likely send Jake Allen between the pipes in this one. The veteran goalie is off to a rocky start, posting a 3.91 GAA and an .877 save percentage accompanied with a 1-2-2 record in five games played. St. Louis is currently averaging 2.8 goals per game, ranking them 22nd in the NHL. They are struggling defensively, conceding an average of 3.8 goals, pegging them down at 28th in the NHL.
Leafs Winning Streak Snapped in Loss to Pens
The Toronto Maple Leafs head into this contest standing in first place in the Eastern Conference. They had their five game wining streak halted in a 3-0 home loss to the Penguins on Thursday night. Leafs’ top scorer Auston Matthews had his seven game point streak snapped in the defeat. The 21-year old star is off to a phenomenal start to the year, leading the entire NHL in points with 10 goals and six assists. Matthews went pointless in two games against the Blues last season. The Leafs feature several highly-skilled forwards which includes Mitch Marner. The third-year center has tallied 11 points in eight games on the season. Marner notched two assists in two games against St. Louis last season. Toronto now stands at 2-2 on home ice this season which included a 4-1 win over the Kings on Monday night.
— Leafs Fans United (@LeafsFansUnited) October 18, 2018
The Maple Leafs are expected to give the start in goal to Frederik Andersen in this contest. The 29-year old net minder does not feature strong numbers, posting a 3.01 GAA and an .899 save percentage paired with a 4-2 record. Toronto leads the NHL with an average of 4.1 goals per game, and they own the #1 rated power play. They are allowing an average of 3.2 goals, pegging them 20th overall.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are:
- 5-1 in their last 6 games overall.
- 20-6 in their last 26 home games.
- 5-1 in their last 6 games after scoring two or fewer goals in their previous game.
The St. Louis Blues are:
- 1-5 in their last 6 road games.
- 1-6 in their last 7 games overall.
- 5-16 in their last 21 games against a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking the Maple Leafs on the puck line (-1.5) in this contest. The Leafs are an offensive powerhouse that should rebound from a rare shutout loss. They have scored at least four goals in five out of their last six games, and they are up against a struggling Blues team. St. Louis has dropped three consecutive games, and they have squandered a combined seven goals in their last two road games. Toronto’s forwards should overwhelm the Blues in a convincing win. Also, the Maple Leafs’ last four wins have all been by at least two goals, and I anticipate an easy win in this one.
Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is a strong option in this matchup. The Leafs lead the NHL in goals, and they also feature the NHL’s #1 power play with a 45% efficiency. The Leafs should have no issues finding the back of the net considering the Blues defensive struggles, plus Blues’ goalie Jake Allen owns a poor 3.91 GAA, and the over is 8-3-1 in the Blues’ last 12 games overall. In addition, Toronto isn’t a strong defensive team, and Frederik Andersen holds a subpar 2.70 GAA on the year. The over is 9-1-1 in Toronto’s last 11 games after scoring two or fewer goals in their previous game, and it should convert again in this one.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The over on the Maple Leafs team total is a strong option. The Leafs are averaging a sizzling 4.5 goals in their last six games. St. Louis is conceding an average of just under four goals per game, and goaltender Jake Allen has not played well this season. I anticipate another big game from the Leafs stars including Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares.
Prediction: Maple Leafs Team Total: Over
Half-Time Prop Prediction
I am opting with the over on the second period total. The Leafs’ highest scoring period occurs in the second where they have accumulated 14 goals in their eight games played. In addition, the Blues have scored six goals in the second frame in their six games on the year, plus the Leafs have conceded eight goals in the second period.
Prediction: Second Period Total: Over