Maple Leafs Look to Halt Slide
Panic in Toronto? That’s the thought on Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans’ minds the day after a shocking loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Maple Leafs will try to avoid losing three straight games as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets, winners of five of their last six. Columbus has lost just once since the All-Star break so, if Toronto plays as lackadaisical as it did in Montreal on Monday, the Maple Leafs are in trouble.
Toronto is still a big road favorite based on the current NHL betting lines.
Test for Maple Leafs
Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens was a great spot for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bounce back following a tough loss to the St. Louis Blues over the weekend. Instead, Toronto got smoked 5-2 as massive road favorites in its worst performance of the season. The Canadiens, with the rest disadvantage, scored the game’s first five goals and dominated their rivals.
So, the pressure’s on for Toronto to beat the Blue Jackets with starter Jack Campbell back in net. The Maple Leafs outshot Montreal 37-24 but the defense and goaltending were terrible and both need to be better against a Columbus team that is on fire offensively. The Leafs are sliding down the Atlantic Division standings and can’t afford an extended skid.
The good news for the Maple Leafs is that they have lost three games in a row just once ( in October) so they’ve been good at cutting losing streaks short.
Blue Jackets Scoring at Will
In the past three weeks, the up-and-down Columbus Blue Jackets seem to have figured something out. The Blue Jackets are 7-2-0 in their last nine games and have won two games in a row, each with seven goals on the board.
The goaltending has been an issue between Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo, but both are hurt and journeyman Jean-Francis Berube is the presumptive starter. Berube was great in Columbus’ 7-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday in his first NHL action in four years. He saved 33 of the 36 shots he faced to lead the Blue Jackets to a comfortable win as -150 home favorites.
The offense is what has been propelling the Blue Jackets, with guys like Patrik Laine (12 points in his last six games) and Boone Jenner (nine points in that span) playing out of their minds. That’ll need to continue if Columbus is going to beat an angry Toronto squad.
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Head-to-Head
The Maple Leafs won the first meeting, a 5-4 barnburner in Toronto in early December. Auston Matthews (two goals and an assist) led the way for Toronto, which led 5-1 in the second period but let Columbus score three unanswered in the third period to make it a game.
So, the Maple Leafs did win as massive -270 home favorites but weren’t able to cover the puckline. The over (six goals) easily hit.
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Game Information
- Game: Toronto Maple Leafs (32-14-3) at Columbus Blue Jackets (25-23-1)
- Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
- Day/Time: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN+
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Betting Lines
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Prediction
If you’re betting online, look for the Maple Leafs to get off the schneid with a big win on Tuesday. Monday’s loss to the Canadiens was so shocking and disappointing that a really talented team in Toronto, which has Stanley Cup aspirations, will respond from it positively even with the rest disadvantage.
The Maple Leafs didn’t deserve to win, by any means, but they outshot Montreal handily and didn’t get great net play from backup goalie Petr Mrazek. Having Campbell back should settle things down a bit, particularly against the Blue Jackets, who don’t take a ton of shots (26th in the NHL) and rely on a high shooting percentage (10.9, sixth-best in the league) to score goals.
Toronto is a huge road favorite on the BetUS sportsbook so the value in the Maple Leafs is on the puckline. That’s a good play down to -110 or so, at which point it might just make sense to take Toronto to win in regulation.
The goal total is pretty high but the over is an intriguing pick and it’s a smart bet even at a number like -130. Both of these teams score a lot of goals and the Maple Leafs are due for a big offensive night.