Toronto Maple Leafs at Colorado Avalanche
When and Where: Tuesday, Feb. 12, Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo., 9 p.m. EST.
After a frustrating loss, the Toronto Maple Leafs begin the western portion of their six-game road swing Tuesday night when they face the struggling Colorado Avalanche.
Leafs fail to solve Georgiev despite 56 shots
Toronto (34-18-3) had a four-game winning streak and six-game point streak come to an end with a 4-1 road loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday night.
The Maple Leafs unloaded 56 shots — their most in a game since firing 61 in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders in 2009 — but only Kasperi Kapanen‘s attempt 10:35 into the game found its way past Rangers backup netminder Alexandar Georgiev.
It was particularly excruciating on the power play, as Toronto failed to convert on four chances while piling up 23 shots. Third-line center Nazem Kadri may have left New York the most frustrated of all players, taking a team-high 12 shots without anything to show.
"I would say we had the puck the majority of the time. Obviously, we had quality, quality chances. I thought their goaltender had a good night and we missed lots of opportunity. In saying that, it was a game we'd like to win."
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 11, 2019
The Leafs have an overall power-play success rate of 20 percent, but they are just 3 for 35 (8.6 percent) in their last 16 games since the start of 2019.
Toronto continues its trek with a one-point lead for second place in the Atlantic, a spot that carries home-ice advantage in the first round. Boston is one point back and Montreal another point back as the three teams are unlikely to catch NHL-best Tampa Bay for the division lead.
After watching Garrett Sparks stop 26 of 29 shots in Sunday’s loss, Frederik Andersen is expected to be back in goal for Toronto, trying to win his fourth straight start. Andersen has helped the Leafs gain at least one point in his last five outings (4-0-1), posting a 2.76 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
Anderson let up four goals on 32 shots in the previous encounter this season, a 6-3 Avalanche victory Jan. 14. Though he is 2-3-0 lifetime versus Colorado, one of those wins came in his only start at the Pepsi Centre in which he made 38 saves in a 6-0 rout in 2016.
Avs getting points but not wins
With 15 points separating the bottom 11 teams in the Western Conference, a wild-card spot is there for the taking for Colorado (22-22-11), but at the same time, the Avalanche have to take it.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 11, 2019
While they have claimed a loser’s point in the last three games, the Avalanche have dropped seven straight overall and are now tied for last in the Central Division as Chicago has charged back into the playoff chase. Colorado is four points out of the second wild-card spot and 10th overall in the West as play starts Monday night after absorbing a 2-1 overtime loss at Boston on Sunday.
Nathan MacKinnon scored late in the first period when a power play expired, but that would be Colorado’s lone offense. Semyon Varlamov finished with 33 saves but could not get the Avs to a shootout as Brad Marchand’s shot deflected off a skate and past him with 57 seconds left.
“It’s just not good enough,” Varlamov told the Denver Post. “We’ve got to find a way to win in overtime.”
MacKinnon tied Gabriel Landeskog for the team lead with his 29th goal, but Colorado’s power play again sputtered. The Avs came up empty on four chances with the man advantage and are 1 for 20 during their seven-game losing streak — a slump that has dropped their overall mark to 23.4 percent.
Avs coach Jared Bednar has yet to name a starting goaltender for this contest, but Varlamov turned aside 17 of 20 shots in the January victory over Toronto. He has been in goal for five of these seven losses, getting all three overtime points while posting a 3.48 GAA and .894 save percentage in those five defeats.
Colorado has lost four straight home games and is 2-6-2 in its last 10 at the Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche are:
- 2-8 in their last 10 games after scoring two or fewer goals in their previous game.
- 0-5 in their last five games vs. Eastern Conference opponents.
- 0-7 in their last seven games after allowing two or fewer goals in their previous game.
- The under is 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. above-.600 teams.
- The under is 5-2-2 in their last nine in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation.
- The under is 5-1 in their last six games as a home underdog.
The Maple Leafs are:
- 7-1 in their last eight in the third of a 3-in-4 situation.
- 10-3 in their last 13 games as a road favorite between -110 and -150.
- 19-8 in their last 27 games vs. Western Conference opponents.
- The under is 6-1 in their last seven road games.
- The under is 5-1 in their last six games as a road favorite.
- The under is 6-2-1 in their last nine games when their opponent scores two or fewer goals in its previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Varlamov’s quote following the loss to the Bruins provides the sense there is frustration mounting among the Avalanche players. Colorado is still essentially a one-line team — MacKinnon, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have combined for 82 of the team’s 180 goals — and until other players start picking up the scoring load, the offense will continue to sputter.
On the other side, it is easy to dismiss Toronto’s loss Sunday night as running into a hot goaltender. The lack of production on the power play is a concern — though that can be said for both teams — but the Maple Leafs were simply stymied as opposed to playing poorly. They are the pick here.
Prediction: Pick: Maple Leafs -135
Full-Game Total Pick
Though the teams have combined for six or more goals in the last eight meetings in Denver, the lack of production on the power play for both teams gives pause in thinking this will be another high-scoring affair.
The Maple Leafs have also been fairly tight defensively since acquiring Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings, giving up three or fewer goals in four of the six games he has played, With Muzzin expected to be matched up against Colorado’s big line, the expectation is this will be a one-goal game that has the feel of a 3-2 final.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 6.5 goals (+115)
Full-Game Prop Bet
Colorado has been held to three or fewer goals in all seven games during its losing streak and in 10 of its last 12 overall. The sputtering power play — 4 for 39 in that span — does the Avs no favors but offers plenty of confidence they can be contained by the Leafs.
Prediction: Pick: Avalanche UNDER 3 goals
Half-Time Side Pick
This is a confidence pick in the Leafs, who are a net plus-11 in the first period compared to the Avalanche being a minus-6. Colorado also has given up seven first-period goals in its last six games, which makes a Toronto team eager to regroup an attractive pick.
Prediction: Pick: Maple Leafs -0.5 goals (+160)
Half-Time Total Bet
Though it has given up seven goals during its last six games, Colorado has potted six in those games. The Maple Leafs are in the same boat with a minus-1 in their last six game with six scored and seven conceded, so the over is the play.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals (-165)