The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in the middle of a West Coast trip that began in Edmonton and will take them through Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle, and Winnipeg before returning back to Toronto for the second half of a home-and-home against the Jets. The second game of the trip will be in Calgary on Thursday against the Flames. Both teams are going to be in a dogfight to secure a playoff spot in their respective conferences.
The Leafs have had an up-and-down trajectory this season and are currently fourth in the Atlantic Division behind the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and Boston Bruins. Led by the three-headed monster of William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner, the Leafs offense has been a force to be reckoned with. Matthews leads the NHL in goals, while Nylander leads the team in assists and points. Defensively, Morgan Rielly has been a standout, racking up 35 points through 42 games this season.
The Flames, on the other hand, have been quite hot of late, winning four straight games and seven of their last 10 overall. This is a surprise for a team that seemed like they would struggle this season. They rely on teamwork rather than top-end talent, and despite not having a clear standout scorer, they have been getting contributions from all over the lineup.
The two teams already battled once earlier this season, with the Leafs coming out on top in an exciting 5-4 overtime victory. The Flames play a tough brand of hockey and have been relying on teamwork to secure wins.
Key injuries to watch for include Flames’ Jonathan Huberdeau, who is expected to return from an illness, and the Leafs’ goalie Jacob Markstrom, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. As for betting trends, the Leafs have struggled with the puckline this year, while the Flames have been adept at hitting the over.
In terms of player prop trends, Matthews is a consistent goal scorer and has been on a hot streak, while Nylander has been cold in recent games. As for wagers to consider, betting on Matthews to score a goal and the game to go over 6.5 goals are reasonable options. Rielly has been on fire this month, so taking the over on his points prop against the Flames is a safe bet. Overall, it’s expected to be a fun and back-and-forth contest between the two teams.