Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Calgary Flames have looked like a different team since they fired their head coach and brought in Darryl Sutter. The Flames won the previous three games before losing to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. They will now travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs who have been one of the best teams in the NHL this season. The Maple Leafs have shown little to no weakness this season and look ready to hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1967.

Flames hope that the defense can improve

The Flames have one of the worst records in the NHL and in the North Division with only 14 wins in their first 30 games and the hope is that Darryl Sutter can turn things around soon. The main struggle this season has been the poor defensive play, which has resulted in the team allowing 3 goals per game and 7 in the recent defeat to the Oilers. The skaters have played well on an individual level but the unit is constantly allowing odd-man rushes or open shots in the zone and with Jacob Markstrom and David Rittich struggling in the net, the Flames have played poorly on the defensive end as a result.

In addition to the struggling defense, the offense hasn’t played up the talent level that they possess. Johnny Gaudreau has scored 12 goals but nobody else on the roster has more than 10 goals on the season with Andrew Mangiapane scoring 9 goals on the season thus far. Moreover, the bottom six in the Flames shifts has underachieved and is making the team easy to defend with only the top two lines finding offense.

Maple Leafs hope offense can end skid

The Maple Leafs have looked like the best team in the North Division and possibly in the NHL this season as they have won 19 of their first 30 games. However, the team has lost 5 of their last 6 games and is losing their once comfortable lead in their division. The defense has struggled in recent games which is surprising considering how the team is only allowing 2.6 goals per game with Fredrik Anderson laying well as the starting goalie and the defense being 3 great pairings deep.

The defense has been the struggle in the recent games but the offense which is scoring 3.4 goals per game is going to be what gets them back to the winning ways. Auston Matthews has been one of the best goal scorers this season, with 21 goals while William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Zach Hyman all have ten goals or more. Mitch Marner not only has 11 goals on the season but has also added 28 assists to the offense as well.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Maple Leafs have struggled in their recent games and they have looked off from their usual dominance over the division. This should be the game where they return to their great play as they face a Flames team that has played poorly all season. Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs’ top line should be able to pile on the goals against a struggling Flames defense while the defense of the Maple Leafs steps up and eliminates the top lines of the Flames offense. The Maple Leafs should win this game with ease and remind everyone why they are the top team in the North Division.

Prediction:
Maple Leafs (-160)

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Both teams have struggled on the offensive end in recent games making it easy to think that this will be a low-scoring game. However, both the Maple Leafs and Flames have two of the best offenses and should be able to constantly find scoring chances. The Maple Leafs should be able to pile on the goals with Matthews, Marner, and Hyman constantly finding the back of the net against a struggling Flames defense. Likewise, the Flames should be able to find scoring chances with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk constantly creating odd-man rushes and scoring opportunities.

Prediction:
Over 6.5