December 18, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: Anaheim Ducks at Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Hockey Betting:  Anaheim Ducks at Toronto Maple Leafs&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The Pacific Division race is ridiculously tight with the first place team and last place team separated by a total of 12 points. The first through fifth teams are separated by 5 points which makes this non-conference game with the Toronto Maple Leafs very important for the visiting Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have been playing good hockey with a 6-3-1 record in their last 10. They’re tied with Edmonton for second place in the Pacific two points back of the San Jose Sharks and three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames.

The Maple Leafs are falling off the pace in the Atlantic Division but are far removed from their doormat status of recent years. The Leafs are 12-11-7 on the year and have a very good home record at 9-5-2. They’re 4-3-3 in their last 10 games and enter this contest off of a 2-1 home win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. That was one of the team’s signature victories of the season and only their second victory in eight games. The problem now is that it makes this a ‘letdown situation’ against a very dangerous opponent. Toronto will start Frederik Andersen in net–he’s got a 12-7-6 record with a 2.63 goals against average and a 0.919 save percentage. He’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s John Gibson who comes into this game with a 10-9-4 record and a 2.69 goals against average with a 0.906 save percentage.

The Ducks are 1-2 on this six game Eastern road trip with a 6-2 loss at Dallas, a 4-3 win at Boston and a 6-4 loss at Detroit in their last game. Interestingly, the Leafs won both meetings last year even though the Ducks were a much better team ‘on paper’. Toronto won 4-0 at the Honda Center on 1/6/16 and 6-5 at the Air Canada Centre on 3/24/16. They’re 11-4 against the Ducks at home including winning the last two games. On the other hand, Toronto is 4-10 against the Western Conference this season and are facing a Ducks team that is 6-1 +5 units after allowing 4 or more goals and 5-1 +4 units after a loss by 2 or more goals. Just don’t trust the young Leafs coming off their big win over Pittsburgh against a Ducks team looking to even their record on this road trip.