Ahead of a huge three-game road trip, the Toronto Maple Leafs conclude their season series with the division-rival Florida Panthers on Monday night.
Panthers vs Maple Leafs Betting Analysis
If the Maple Leafs have any hope of catching Boston for second in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs – and that’s looking unlikely – then they probably have to come close to winning out. No excuse, for sure, of losing at home Monday to a mediocre Panthers side that will miss the playoffs. This game is ahead of a huge three-game trip for Toronto that likely will determine whether catching the Bruins is even possible.
The Panthers lead the season series, although the one game in Toronto was a 6-1 Leafs rout on December 20 when Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had two goals. The Leafs were also 3-for-3 on the power play. Overall, Morgan Rielly leads Toronto with seven points this season vs. Florida, all assists. Mitch Marner has five points (3G, 2A). Frederik Andersen played in two and is 1-0-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.
Former Ottawa Senator and Kitchener native Mike Hoffman (1G, 2A) and Aleksander Barkov (3G) lead the Panthers with three points each vs. Toronto. Roberto Luongo is 2-1-0 with a 3.19 goals against and .880 save percentage.
The home team has won 11 of the past 12 in this series.
The Panthers lost for the third time in four games Saturday, 7-3 at home to Boston. Hoffman was a bright spot with a goal and assist. He leads the team with 35 goals and is third with 67 points – Barkov is first with 87 points (34 goals). He landed face down on the ice after a collision with hulking Bruins blueliner Zdeno Chara and left the game – not thought to be a serious injury. If he stays healthy, Barkov could break the franchise single-season record for points, which is 94 held by Pavel Bure in 1999-2000. Most likely it will be Luongo in net because rookie Sam Montembeault has lost three straight and allowed all six goals vs. Boston. The Panthers like playing on Monday, winning 10 of their past 11 on the day.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto’s recent struggles continued in a 2-1 overtime home loss to a bad Rangers team on Saturday; New York had lost its past five games overall and also the past five that went past regulation. The Maple Leafs gave up the opening goal for the seventh straight game and have won just two of those. It’s now almost a lock the Leafs will not catch Boston for second in the Atlantic Division. Ryan Strome scored the winner for the Rangers 1:48 into OT. Toronto outshot New York 45-28, and the Rangers blocked another 33 shots. Zach Hyman had the lone Leafs goal, his 19th of the season. Fourth-line centre Frederik Gauthier returned Saturday after missing the previous two games with a foot injury. Toronto is 9-4 in its past 13 Monday games.