Auston Matthews finally broke out of a lengthy scoring slump last time out – and avoiding another one could prove critical to the Maple Leafs as they kick off a three-game jaunt through Western Canada on Tuesday against Vancouver. Matthews scored twice in a 5-2 win over St. Louis but has largely struggled against his next three opponents.
Opening Odds Analysis
Toronto kicked off the proceedings as a slight betting favorite, but the gap has shrunk to -115/-105 at some sportsbooks. The total is set at 6.5, and is split at -110 between the OVER and the UNDER.
Toronto News & Notes
That Matthews’ goal-scoring is a pivotal part of the Leafs’ winning recipe isn’t news to anyone – the former No. 1 overall pick has scored 11 goals in Toronto’s 14 victories and just seven in its 17 defeats. But that could mean bad news out west, with Matthews having tallied just five times in 16 career games against the Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
And goal-scoring isn’t the only concern the Maple Leafs will have as they visit Rogers Arena. They’ll need to figure out how to slow down a Canucks power play that has produced a league-high 31 goals entering the week while ranking fourth in the league in success rate (27.2 percent). Toronto enters the week ranked 25th out of 31 NHL teams in penalty-kill rate (76.5 percent).
Vancouver News & Notes
Vancouver has been utterly dominant whenever Toronto comes to town, having prevailed in 10 of the previous 11 meetings between the teams in B.C. And the Canucks are playing inspired hockey at the moment, having won three of their previous four games – including back-to-back home victories over Buffalo and Ottawa in which they racked up 11 goals.
There are plenty of reasons for the Canucks’ overall success, particularly at home (where they’re 7-3-3 on the year), and rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes is certainly near the top of that list. Hughes has piled up 24 points through his first 29 games this season, and could be a sneaky player prop value play with 12 points over his previous 10 games.
Betting Pick: OVER
Both teams can pile up the goals (despite having combined for five or fewer goals in five straight meetings), and with Vancouver 8-4-1 O/U at home and Toronto on an OVER hot stretch away from Scotiabank Arena, we like the OVER 6.5 here.