Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Prediction, NHL Odds

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Oct 23, 2021

It hasn't been a hot start for the Leafs and it won't get any easier as they come into Pittsburgh on the second half of a back-to-back.

Toronto
17-6-1
AT
October 23, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
PPG PAINTS Arena
Pittsburgh
10-8-1-4
Puckline -1.5 +145
Moneyline -180
Over / Under o +6

64%

Betting Action

36%

Puckline +1.5 -174
Moneyline +150
Over / Under u +6

64%

Betting Action

36%

It’s not time to hit the panic button in Toronto, but after dropping a 5-3 decision at home against San Jose Friday night, last year’s epic playoff collapse has to be creeping back into the minds of fans.  The Penguins, on the other hand, have been staying afloat without their superstar duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and have picked up at least a point in every game this season.

The Maple Leafs are -147 favourites to win on the NHL odds, with a total of 6.0.

Maple Leafs vs. Penguins NHL Betting Odds

These teams have been fairly evenly matched over the last couple of seasons.  Pittsburgh won two of three meetings before the 2020 COVID shutdown, while Toronto has a slight 6-4 edge over the last 10 games.  The total has gone Under in four of the last six games between these teams.

The Leafs haven’t lit up Metropolitan Division opponents, as they come into Saturday 2-5 straight up in their last five games against the Metro.  Early on, the scoring issues from Toronto’s playoff collapse seem to have crept into the new season.  The total has gone Under in six of their last seven games overall, including four of five this season.  They’ve only managed to cover in one of five games.

The Pens have failed to lose in regulation over their four games this year, which is all you can ask without Crosby or Malkin in the lineup.  Pittsburgh has to feel confident playing at home, where they’re 12-5 SU over their last 17 matchups dating back to last season.  Goals haven’t been hard to come by, as the Penguins have hit the Over in three of four contests this year.  They’re 3-1 against the spread.

Toronto Maple Leafs

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Leafs, early on.  Toronto has now dropped consecutive home games, both of which came against non-playoff teams from last year.  Auston Matthews, the reigning Rocket Richard winner, has failed to record a point and is -2 in two games since returning from off-season wrist surgery.

The top line of Matthews, Mitch Marner and Nick Ritchie hasn’t experienced much chemistry yet.  Ritchie was actually benched halfway through the San Jose game.  The former Boston Bruins was signed in free agency in the hopes he could replace Zach Hyman (now in Edmonton) on the top line, but he has failed to record a point in five games with Toronto.  Pierre Engvall and William Nylander have also taken turns on the top line this year.  Coach Sheldon Keefe said he expects to start with the Matthews, Marner, Ritchie combination again on Saturday.  Nylander leads the Leafs with five points (2G, 3A).

Michael Hutchinson got the start last night, so expect Jack Campbell to face the Pens.  Campbell and Petr Mrazek were slated to share the net in a 1A/1B scenario this year, but that plan was delayed when Mrazek left his only start of the year with a groin injury.  Campbell has carried the majority of the load and has looked good up to this point.  He’s 2-0-1 with a 1.18 goals-against average and .953 save percentage.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Things have gone surprisingly well for the Pens, despite the absence of Crosby and Malkin, and they come into Saturday looking for their third win in five games.  They’ve been off since a 2-1 shootout loss at home against Dallas on Tuesday.  John Marino had the lone Pittsburgh goal, while Tristan Jarry stopped 28 of 29 shots faced.  Crosby is nearing a return from a wrist injury, although there is no official timetable.  Malkin is expected to miss at least another two months with a knee injury.

There was some concerns that Jarry might not be available for this game after both he and Jeff Carter were placed in COVID protocol.  Carter, who is tied for the team lead in points with 4 (1G, 3A), has repotedly tested positive for COVID and will be out Saturday, while Jarry has been cleared to play.  The 26-year-old starting netminder has looked good this year, posting a 2-0-1 record with a 1.62 GAA and .935 SV.

NHL Prediction: Who Will Win Maple Leafs vs. Penguins?

SportsInteraction