Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers Betting Preview
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: Friday, January 13, 2017, 7:00 PM ET
Line: Toronto Maple Leafs (+130) at New York Rangers (-150); total: 5.5 – view all NHL lines
Betting on the Toronto Maple Leafs (18-13-8)
Make that 13-straight defeats to the Montreal Canadiens for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who fell to their division rivals last Saturday, 5-3. The loss snapped Toronto’s seven-game points streak, but it remains the only current team outside the East’s playoff bubble with a positive point differential for the season at plus-4.
The firepower of the Maple Leafs was still showcased that evening as they scored two power-play goals. They’ve now scored at least two goals with the upper hand in each of the last three contests and are ranked sixth in the NHL with a 22.4-percent power-play conversion rate. Look out for All-Star rookie Auston Matthews, who is the team’s leader in points (35) and has three goals and two assists in four games this January, to bounce back from a point-less night against Montreal.
However, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen had another rough night to continue his sluggish effort since the start of the new year. Andersen allowed five Habs goals on 31 shots on Saturday, and has now given up at least four goals in three of his last five starts this month.
Still, Toronto’s recent form behind some sweet offensive production cannot be taken for granted. The Maple Leafs have even gone 6-2 on the road since the start of December, and they’ve also had six days of rest between their last outing and Friday’s match against the Rangers in MSG.
Betting on the New York Rangers (28-13-1)
Peaking at the right time are the New York Rangers, who staged a massive comeback against the Metropolitan’s best team on Saturday by stunning the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-4.
New York’s offense of late makes the Maple Leafs’ own brand of attack look pale in comparison. The team has won five of its last six games while scoring no less than four goals in each of those victories.
Right wing Michael Grabner has posted back-to-back multi-goal nights, with Saturday’s hat trick being his latest masterful performance. The Rangers scored four unanswered goals to complete the rally against the Blue Jackets – Grabner scored three of them, including the game-winner with 17 seconds left in the contest. He’s currently a top-five player in the plus/minus category with a superb plus-22 rating, and really should’ve made the cut for the All-Star Game when the rosters were announced earlier this week.
Nevertheless, the Rangers now lead the NHL with 144 goals scored for the season, and their power-play percentage also trumps that of the Maple Leafs’ with a 23.2-percent mark (fourth in the league).
But just like the Toronto, New York has gotten relatively lackluster performances from its star goalie in Henrik Lundqvist, as the former Vezina Trophy winner has surrendered two short-handed goals in back-to-back starts and at least one in each of his last three outings.
Then again, the Rangers still ranked a solid ninth in penalty kill this season at 83.6 percent, and they’ve also gotten an equal amount of rest as the Maple Leafs heading into Friday’s showdown. Considering that New York has won four-consecutive meetings against Toronto, we’ll have to side with the home team to prevail with a victory in what should be a high-scoring affair.
The Rangers (-150) stay hot and beat the Maple Leafs, 5-3.
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