The two top teams in the Atlantic Division will face off in Florida on Saturday when the Panthers (56-15-6) host the Toronto Maple Leafs (51-21-6) as solid home favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. The Maple Leafs vs Panthers prediction has the hosts as the second-ranked team in the NHL and best in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Western Conference-leading Colorado Avalanche with 118 overall.
Maple Leafs vs Panthers Odds & Analysis
Florida is riding a 12-game winning streak and has already clinched the No. 1 seed in the East, so maybe that is why the line has come down slightly to -145 in early betting action. The Panthers have also won 10 in a row at home with a game in hand on the top-ranked Avalanche, who lost Friday night, as both teams continue battling for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. For now, Florida has home ice in its own conference though while Toronto owns a six-point lead on the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic. Home ice for the Maple Leafs would figure to give them an edge in a potential first-round matchup with the Lightning, who routed them 8-1 after they closed as +115 road underdogs on Thursday. The total is listed as 7 in Toronto’s third consecutive game.
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Toronto Humbled in Loss at Tampa Bay, Looks to Avoid Florida Sweep
The Maple Leafs had been playing like one of the best teams in the league lately before the Lightning blew them away in the opener of a difficult three-game road trip. Sportsbooks of 11 of their previous 13 games, they have now given up 20 goals combined in their past three losses. That is a concern heading into the postseason where only quality opponents await Toronto, starting with a likely matchup versus Tampa Bay in the first round. But the Maple Leafs have not dropped two straight games since March 13, and they have split the first two meetings with the Panthers this season, the last taking place on April 5.
Panthers Streaking into Divisional Matchup With Eyes on Top Record
Florida has been on fire recently, and the only worry for this team is peaking too soon, which remains a real possibility. The Panthers finished last regular season by winning 10 of 12, beating the Lightning twice by a combined score of 9-1 in the last two games before falling to them in a disappointing six-game series when the playoffs started. They had home ice in that first-round series as well and still could not get it done. However, Florida is a much better team this season, so things should be different, especially since a Wild Card will be the opponent this time around. Because the Presidents’ Trophy is up for grabs, it makes sense that the Maple Leafs vs Panthers prediction favors the hosts here.
Maple Leafs vs Panthers Pick & Insights
Maple Leafs: Keys to Victory
Defense is definitely the key for Toronto in this tough spot, as the team simply cannot afford to give up more than three goals and win. The Maple Leafs have surrendered four goals or more in their last 12 losses, including a 7-6 overtime defeat at FLA Live Arena on April 5 when they blew a 5-1 lead to this same opponent. That cannot happen again.
Panthers: Keys to Victory
Florida will wrap up a three-game homestand by playing two divisional opponents that will be in the postseason after closing as a favorite of -200 or higher in each of its last five. The Panthers have won six in a row and 13 of 14 versus Atlantic foes, one of the main reasons they earned the division title. Nine of those 13 wins were also decided by two goals or more, so taking a shot on the puckline with Florida may be a smart move too. Whatever your Maple Leafs vs Panthers pick is, the OVER should be considered as well.
Odds Shark’s Computer Maple Leafs vs Panthers Prediction:
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