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The New York Rangers are 2-2-0 in their previous four games.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are 3-0-1 in their last four games.
The Rangers beat the Maple Leafs 3-1 in their first matchup.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
26-14-7 (3rd in Metropolitan Division)
29-11-8 (2nd in Atlantic Division)
Artemi Panarin (50)
Mitchell Marner, William Nylander (56)
Mika Zibanejad (22)
William Nylander (26)
Adam Fox (38)
Mitchell Marner (39)
Adam Fox (22)
Timothy Liljgren (20)
Mika Zibanejad (3.6)
Shots (Per Game)
Auston Matthews (4.26)
The New York Rangers will travel north of the border to face the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time this season. The Rangers dismantled the Maple Leafs 3-1 in their first matchup. The game was tied at one heading into the second period, but two Jimmy Vesey goals (one an empty netter) secured the victory for the Rangers.
The Rangers are in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 59 points. However, their lead over the Washington Capitals is slim, and they could be in a Wild Card spot by next week. On the other hand, the Maple Leafs are in second place in the Atlantic Division with 63 points. It is unlikely they will move up from this spot, but they can finish the year in second place.
The Rangers have a few offensively gifted players, but overall, their offense is mediocre. Defensively, they are significantly better and allow less than 2.7 goals per game. New York does not need to make many improvements on the defensive side but will need to step up their offense as the season goes on.
The Rangers' offense sometimes stalls, but they have three incredibly efficient players in Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Adam Fox. Each of these players has at least 27 assists and 48 points.
Goaltender Igor Shesterkin holds together this Rangers squad. The 27-year-old is easily a top-ten netminder and one of the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL.
The Maple Leafs are having a great season and rank in the top ten on offense and defense. Toronto is full of scorers and has some strong passers as well. On the other side, they have a few defensemen that lead them and make life difficult for opposing centers and wingers.
The Maple Leafs have four studs in William Nylander, Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews, and John Tavares. Each player has at least 17 goals, 26 assists, and 47 points.
Goaltender Ilya Samsonov has begun to pull away from Matt Murray and become Toronto’s starter. They began the season as a platoon, but Samsonov has outperformed Murray. The 25-year-old’s 2.21 goals against average is the second-lowest in the NHL
The Maple Leafs are a little more well-rounded than the Rangers and have not lost a home game since early January. Play it safe and bet on Toronto.
The Rangers are the underdogs but will win if they involve Mika Zibanejad and overwhelm the Maple Leafs with shots.
Mika Zibanejad is having another incredible season and leads the Rangers in goals with 22. Two of those 22 goals came in his previous game against the Florida Panthers. That performance earned him the first star of the game and some much-needed momentum. Zibanejad must continue shooting this game and have his teammates set him up with scoring opportunities.
The Rangers will likely face Ilya Samsonov in the net for the Maple Leafs. Samsonov has only given up six goals in his previous three games and is making a case as a top-ten netminder in the NHL. Since the 25-year-old is playing so well, the Rangers must overwhelm him with shots and hope he makes a mistake.
The Maple Leafs are the favorites but will only emerge victorious if they draw penalties and play tough defense.
The Maple Leafs have a top-ten power play unit and convert almost 25% of their opportunities. This unit has scored three goals in their previous four games and accounts for over 23% of their goals. This game will likely be close and may come down to the wire, so this unit needs to get on the ice as much as possible and score at least once.
The Maple Leafs are a little better offensively than the Rangers, but the Rangers still average over three goals a game and scored six goals in their last game. The Toronto defensemen must combat the Rangers’ offense by playing smart and aggressive defense. They can be the x-factors if they step up.
Adam Fox continues to impress and be a top-five defenseman. The 24-year-old plays over 25 minutes a game and has a team-leading TOI of 22. More importantly, he leads the Rangers’ defense and will need to bring his A-game against the Maple Leafs and the likes of William Nylander, Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews, and John Tavares.
William Nylander is having an excellent season and leads the Maple Leafs in goals (26) and points (56). He also is coming off a two-goal, two-assist game against the New York Islanders.
Nylander is probably feeling pretty good about himself after his last game and must take that feeling into this game. If he does, he might end up with another two goals.
What - New York Rangers vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Where - Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
When - Wednesday, January 25, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - TNT
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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