by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs are facing another team that tends to play high-chance games as they try to end a cycle of losing as a heavy home favourite. The Maple Leafs are the -210 home favourite while the Chicago Blackhawks are the +175 away underdog with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Toronto is 13-5 in its last 18 home games as a home favourite of -200 to -250 at online betting sites, but has lost the three most recent games in that sample. The Maple Leafs are also trying to improve a trend of being 2-10 in their last 12 home games against the Central Division. The Blackhawks, who will have a tight turnaround after this game with a home date against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, are 8-12 in their last 20 games when they are also playing the next day with the total finishing OVER 14 times. The total has also finished OVER in six of the last eight Chicago-Toronto games.
Blackhawks at Maple Leafs | OddsShark Matchup Report
The Blackhawks are 22-20-6, but are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Led by veteran centre Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane, Chicago is on a 5-0 run over its last five games against Eastern Conference opponents, even though the club has struggled defensively and ranks 23rd in the 31-team NHL in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (48.3 percent). The Blackhawks are 20th in goals scored (2.90) and 19th in goals against (3.10). On special teams, they have the 27th-ranked power play (15.7 percent) but are ranked eighth in penalty killing (83.0).
Corey Crawford made the goaltending start in the Blackhawks’ last outing, so Robin Lehner, who has a 14-7-4 record with a 2.85 goals-against average and .923 save percentage, may be in line for his first start since Tuesday. Lehner has a 2.62 GAA and .934 save percentage when he’s had three or more days of rest.
The Maple Leafs are 25-16-7, but have gone just 5-5 over their last 10 games, although three of the losses were in overtime or shootouts. Toronto will have to count on their top lines led by centres Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Alex Kerfoot to drive the pace and compensate for a depleted defence that is missing leader Morgan Rielly (foot). Toronto thrives at creating offence, ranking sixth in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (52.7 percent), but their second-place ranking in goal scoring (3.60 per game) is significantly negated by ranking 23rd in goals against (3.23). The Maple Leafs have a sixth-ranked power play (24.1) and 25th-ranked penalty killing unit (76.1).
Goalie Frederik Andersen has a 22-8-6 record with a 2.80 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. Andersen, who played on Thursday, has a 2.32 GAA and .929 save percentage when he starts with one day of rest.
After their bye week which includes the all-star break, the Maple Leafs resume action on the road against the Nashville Predators on January 27.