Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#35 Toronto Maple Leafs -115 vs.
#36 Florida Panthers 7
Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
BB&T Center, Sunrise
Written by Chris Kubala

This article covers a past game!

View upcoming games.

It’s a battle between a pair of teams battling for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division down in the Sunshine State. The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the road as they take on the Florida Panthers Thursday night. Toronto comes in off a 4-3 road win over Tampa Bay Tuesday night in their last contest. Florida earned a 2-1 road victory over Arizona in their previous game Tuesday night. The Panthers have won both matchups this season, including a 5-3 road triumph in the most recent meeting on February 3.

Toronto Maple Leafs Look to Build Momentum

Toronto bounced back from their loss to Carolina, who finished the game with a Zamboni driver in net, by putting together a solid showing in beating Tampa Bay on the road. The Maple Leafs entered Wednesday holding the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the Panthers. They stood 16 points back of Boston for the division lead. Toronto is one of the league’s most dangerous offenses as they average 3.48 goals per game on the season. The Maple Leafs are struggling to keep the puck out of their own net as they allow 3.27 goals per contest. Toronto is a dangerous team on the power play as they convert 24.4 percent of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Maple Leafs are having some issues in penalty killing as they successfully shut down 76.5 percent of their shorthanded situations on the year: they have five shorthanded goals.

Against Tampa Bay, Toronto rode two strong offensive periods along with a solid penalty killing performance to earn the win. The Maple Leafs held an 11-8 edge in shots in the opening period and took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room. After falling behind 1-0, Jake Muzzin scored his sixth of the year off assists from Jason Spezza and Frederik Gauthier at 12:48 of the period. John Tavares gave Toronto the lead with his 25th of the year, on the power play, at 16:42 off assists from Tyson Barrie and Auston Matthews. In the second period, the Maple Leafs held a 10-7 edge in shots and a 2-1 advantage on the scoreboard to take a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes. After seeing Tampa Bay tie the game, Tavares scored his second of the game and 26th of the year at 12:25 off an assist from William Nylander to give Toronto a 3-2 lead. Nylander gave the Maple Leafs a 4-2 lead with his 28th of the year, on the power play, at 14:21 off assists from Mitch Marner and Barrie. In the final period, Toronto was outshot 14-3 and gave up the lone goal but hung on for the victory. Frederik Andersen made 26 saves in the win as Toronto was outshot 29-23.

Florida Panthers Try to Beat Toronto for Third Time This Season

Florida had dropped eight of their last 11 games but they managed to scratch out a win in a low-scoring affair with Arizona Tuesday night. The Panthers entered Wednesday fourth in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Toronto for the final guaranteed playoff spots in the division and 18 back of Boston for the division lead. In the wild-card race, the Panthers were four points back of the Blue Jackets for the second wild-card spot entering Wednesday’s action. Florida has been very effective at lighting the lamp this season they average 3.43 goals per contest this season. The Panthers have struggled keeping the puck out of their own net by allowing 3.33 goals per contest. Florida has been very effective on the power play as they convert 22.4 percent of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Panthers have had their struggles in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 77.9 percent of their shorthanded situations on the year.

Against the Coyotes, the Panthers needed a third-period goal and some stellar goaltending to come up with the two points. In the opening period, Florida was outshot 12-8 and outscored 1-0 to trail after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the Panthers having been outshot 12-7 but they held a 1-0 edge on the scoreboard to tie the game after 40 minutes. Frank Vatrano scored his 16th of the year at 11:03 off assists from Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad to knot the game. In the final period, the Panthers were outshot 14-11 but held a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard to earn the win. Hoffman scored his 25th of the year, on the power play, at 8:50 off assists from Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. That goal stood up as the winner thanks to solid goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. He made 37 saves for the Panthers, who were outshot 38-26 in the game.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

This is one of those proverbial four-point games as it could swing the pendulum in the Atlantic Division race for the final guaranteed playoff spot. Toronto has struggled in their two games with the Panthers this season but they won’t have Michael Hutchinson in net for this one like they did the last time, when he melted down in the third period. The Maple Leafs have plenty of weapons and they showed they can play tough in their own zone when they shut down Tampa Bay’s vaunted power play. Florida has dropped eight of their last 11 games and you can’t expect to win a 2-1 game with Toronto with any consistency. Bobrovsky has been inconsistent this season and it’s hard to expect back to back strong showings from him. Give Toronto, a motivated team after the loss over the weekend, to get the win here and send a message that they aren’t folding the tent.

Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs -105

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Toronto comes into this game 17-14-1 on the road this season. The Maple Leafs own a +6 goal differential (115-109) and a +6 shot differential (1,041-1,035) in those games this season. That creates an average of seven goals per game when Toronto is the road team this season. Florida is 16-12-2 on home ice this season. In those games, the Panthers own  a +8 goal differential (110-102) and a +16 shot differential (1,008-992) this season. That's an average of 7.07 goals per game this season on home ice. Look for this one to end up falling just short of the total.

Prediction: Under 7

Half-Time Side Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Toronto comes into this game having held the lead on the road in 14 of their 32 games after the opening period. The Maple Leafs have been even 10 times after 20 minutes of play and have trailed just eight times this season after one period as the visiting team. Florida has held the lead after one period at home 13 times this season. The Panthers have been even eight times and trailed nine times on home ice after the opening period. Toronto was strong in Tampa Bay: look for them to ride that momentum to a win here.

Prediction: 1st Period Toronto Maple Leafs
Loading...

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.