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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
|O 6 (-120)
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1.5
|U 6 (+100)
NHL action is back after the All-Star break. In one of only two games, the Carolina Hurricanes will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on a light Monday. Both of these teams are really hot right now, but the Maple Leafs only have three fewer points than the Hurricanes.
The Carolina Hurricanes are putting together a really impressive season. Their 64 points are fourth-best in the NHL. This is largely in part to goaltender Frederik Andersen and center Sebastian Aho. They were named to the All-Star team and are having excellent seasons. Anderson allows just over two goals per game, and Aho is one of the best centers in the NHL with 19 goals, 26 assists, and a +/- of 15.
The Toronto Maple Leafs may only be in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, but they have a tight hold of their position. Their next closest competitors are the Boston Bruins with six fewer points and one more game played. Their success can mainly be attributed to a handful of players: center Auston Matthews, defenseman Morgan Reilly, center John Tavares, and goaltender Jack Campbell. Matthews is one of the most talented scorers in the league with 29 goals, Reilly is one of the best passing defenseman in the NHL, Tavares is a talented scorer and passer, and Campbell only gives up 2.3 goals per game.
Carolina Hurricanes beat Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Toronto Maple Leafs cover, over 6 goals.
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|Carolina Hurricanes||Head-to-Head||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Rod Brind’Amour||Head Coach||Sheldon Keefe|
|31-9-2 (1st in Metropolitan Division)||Standing||23-17-2 (5th in Pacific Division)|
|Sebastian Aho (45)||Points||Auston Matthews (51)|
|Sebastian Aho (19)||Goals||Auston Matthews (29)|
|Sebastian Aho (26)||Assists||Morgan Reilly (33)|
|Teuvo Teravainen (16)||+/-||Alexander Kerfoot (18)|
|Andrei Svechnikov (3.33)||Shots (Per Game)||Auston Matthews (4.44)|
The Hurricanes are one of the best teams in hockey and playing especially well right now. However, the Maple Leafs are also quite good, so this will be a tough matchup. The Hurricanes need to focus on limiting the Maple Leafs shots and avoiding penalties if they want to secure the win.
The Maple Leafs shoot over 34 times a game. When a team shoots that much, they usually score a lot. The Hurricanes defensemen need to strip the puck away from the Maple Leafs as much as possible and block many shots. If they do, they will limit the Maple Leafs scoring opportunities.
The Hurricanes do not commit an excessive amount of penalties. They have 378 PIM this season, less than 19 other teams. However, they are playing a Maple Leafs team with only 290 PIM, the least in the league. Since the Maple Leafs do not commit many penalties, the Hurricanes need to try to match the number of penalties they commit.
The Maple Leafs may have a tough time in this game. However, they will improve their chances if they get second-chance shots and ride the hot hand.
The Maple Leafs are facing one of the league’s best goaltenders in Frederik Andersen in this game. He allows in very few goals, so the Maple Leafs need to look for different ways to score. One of those ways should be second-chance shots. When a Maple Leafs shot goes towards the net, there needs to be at least one player there to get the rebound. They will create more scoring chances that way.
Riding the hot hand is not unusual advice; teams win games by riding the hot hand all the time. However, when you play a team as dominant as the Hurricanes, you need to look for that player who is playing well right now. If the Maple Leafs do this, they may be able to go home with a win.
This may be the first time I have ever picked a goaltender to be a key player, but there is a first time for everything. Frederik Andersen is a top-three netminder in the league. His 24 wins are second-best in the NHL, and his .929 save percentage is third-best in the NHL.
Andersen makes quick decisions, and they are often the correct decision. He is simply very difficult to score on, which makes him the key player. His strong play has been rewarded this season, as he was named to his second All-Star team.
The Maple Leafs have to hope that Andersen will mess up and let one shot slip through.
I would not usually pick center Mitchell Marner as the Maple Leafs key player. He has 14 goals, 23 assists, a +/- of nine, and plays almost 21 minutes a game, but there are more efficient players on this Maple Leafs squad.
The reason I picked Marner is because of his recent play. Marner has six goals and six assists in his last five games. His most impressive game was the most recent one against the New Jersey Devils. The man from Markham, Ontario, has two goals and two assists.
Because of his recent play, Marner may be the Maple Leafs hottest player right now. The Hurricanes defensemen need to be aware of that and pay more attention to him than they normally do.
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|Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs Information|
|What||Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Where||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario|
|When||Monday, February 7, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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