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Toronto Maple Leafs to win
I keep going to the Maple Leafs and, for the last few games, they keep letting me down. But try as I might, I can’t see them dropping four straight games, especially when they have not lost two straight games at home all year.
They will have an especially tough matchup with Winnipeg having the best goaltender in Canada in Connor Hellebuyck, who has performed well in each of his two starts against Toronto.
The Maple Leafs badly out-chanced the Jets in the last game. According to naturalstattrick.com, the Maple Leafs had 40 scoring chances to Winnipeg’s 17. Toronto also controlled 62 per cent of both the total shots attempted and total shots on goal in the game, and that’s all just at five-on-five. It was a dominant effort – Hellebuyck was the great equalizer.
Even though Toronto has a five-point lead on Winnipeg in the North Division standings, they can’t feel good about dropping four points to the Jets. You can expect a big push from the Maple Leafs, which should include a lot of shots and a lot of work against Hellebuyck.
As good as he’s been and will continue to be, he’ll need an even bigger effort for the Jets to complete the sweep and keep one of the league’s top offenses down.
Auston Matthews to score 2+ goals
The thing about goal scorers is that they tend to score in bunches. That has definitely been true of Matthews, who extended his league lead to 20 goals with a pair against the Jets on Tuesday night.
Matthews has scored twice in the same game on six different occasions. Twice so far this season he did it in back-to-back games. Coming off of his longest goal drought of the season, plus some missed games with injury, he broke the seal on Tuesday night.
In 10 career games against Winnipeg, Matthews has five goals and 14 points. Though he’s still battling through an injury, he still looks keen to keep his scoring up.
Over 1.5 goals in the first period
In Tuesday night’s contest, both teams accounted for three goals in the opening 20 minutes. The first period has also been the money period for the Maple Leafs in terms of dominating their opposition. They’ve outscored all opponents 30-15 in the opening frame, including 14-8 on home ice.
The Jets also happen to be a leakiest in the first period, with the opposition out-scoring them 26-22, including 10-9 on the road.
I’d expect a hot start from Toronto as they look to break their losing streak with authority early on.
Winnipeg Jets to win the third period
If there’s one thing we’ve seemingly been able to count on over the course of the year, it’s the Maple Leafs fading down the stretch. They outscore their opponents in the first and second periods routinely, but find themselves even with the opposition in the third. Fifteen of the 27 third-period goals the team has given up have come on home ice. It’s been a problem all season.
The Jets, meanwhile have a 28-19 goal advantage in the third period so far this season. They’re even at 9-9 in the third period on the road, but I’d expect the will to gain ground on Toronto will put them in position to have a bigger third period and at least win that 20-minute segment.
#BETYOURWAY: Toronto to win, Auston Matthews to score 2+ goals, over 1.5 goals in the first period, Jets to win the third period
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