Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
|St. Louis Blues||+1.5
|O 6.5 (+100)
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-1.5
|U 6.5 (-120)
The St. Louis Blues will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road in this cross-conference battle. The Blues are just barely sitting in third place in the Central Division, while the Maple Leafs are comfortably sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Blues need this win a lot more than the Maple Leafs.
The Blues have played well since the NHL returned from postponement. They are 11-5-1 from that point. They are led by wingers Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich, center Jordan Kyrou, and defenseman Justin Faulk. Tarasenko leads his team in goals (18) and points (45), Buchnevich has 43 points and a +/- of 18, Kyrou is an impressive center with 43 points, and Faulk has a team-leading +/- of 30. I would be remiss if I did not mention goaltender Ville Husso’s impact on the Blues. Husso started the season as the backup but became the starter after some poor play from Jordan Binnington. Husso has 11 wins in 17 starts and allows under two goals per game.
The Maple Leafs are playing well this season. They have an elite scorer in Auston Matthews and four other centers (John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, William Nylander, and Alexander Kerfoot) with at least 25 assists. On defense, Morgan Reilly has helped lead the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs, like the Blues, have a great goaltender. Jack Campbell has won 23 games in 35 starts for them. The Maple Leafs should make the playoffs this season. If you are a Maple Leafs fan, I would not get excited quite yet; The Maple Leafs have a history of underperforming in the Playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs beat St. Louis Blues 4-3. St. Louis Blues cover, Over 6.5 goals.
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|St. Louis Blues||Head-to-Head||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Craig Berube||Head Coach||Sheldon Keefe|
|28-14-6 (3rd in Central Division)||Standing||32-12-3 (3rd in Atlantic Division)|
|Vladimir Tarasenko (45)||Points||Auston Matthews (59)|
|Vladimir Tarasenko (18)||Goals||Auston Matthews (33)|
|Robert Thomas (30)||Assists||Morgan Reilly (36)|
|Justin Faulk (30)||+/-||Morgan Reilly (16)|
|Vladimir Tarasenko (3.25)||Shots (Per Game)||Auston Matthews (4.52)|
The Blues have shown a lot of potential since the NHL returned. However, they will have one of their tougher games against the Maple Leafs. The Blues need to focus on overwhelming the Maple Leafs with shots and limiting the Maple Leafs shots.
The Maple Leafs have a great goaltender in Jack Campbell. However, Campbell does make mistakes sometimes and lets some goals slip in. The Blues need to overwhelm Campbell with shots and hope that they get lucky at some point. They should not take bad shots, but they should take any shot that seems good.
The Maple Leafs are one of the higher shooting teams in the league. They shoot 34.6 times per game and score 3.6 goals per game. The Blues have to play strong defense and not allow the Maple Leafs to shoot so much. If they do, the Maple Leafs will have fewer scoring opportunities.
The Maple Leafs are the favorites in this game, and I expect them to win. They have a stronger roster and home-ice advantage. They may face some difficulty scoring this game because they are facing a tough goalie in Ville Husso. Since that is the case, they need to focus on getting second-chance shots and drawing penalties.
Blues netminder Ville Husso has excelled in the starting role this season. Husso is 11-3-2, only gives up 1.92 goals per game, and has a .937 save percentage. Since Husso is so dominant, the Maple Leafs need to attack the net and get second-chance shots. Second-chance shots are often tough to defend against, and if you take enough, one will slip into the net.
The Maple Leafs have the NHL’s best power-play unit. They convert on over 31% of their power-plays, and almost ¼ of their goals come with a man advantage. They need to draw penalties and give themselves a man advantage. They should be able to score one or two goals that way.
Vladimir Tarasenko is playing in his first full season since 2018-2019. He only played 34 games the previous two seasons due to shoulder injuries but has returned to form this season and has 45 points in 44 games.
Tarasenko may not have been named to the All-Star team this year, but he is still an electric player and a good leader. The Russian winger knows how to score and make the right pass, making him so dangerous.
Defensively, the Maple Leafs have to know that he can do it all. They have to cut off his passing lanes and force him to take bad shots.
Mitchell Marner is an underrated player. The center has 17 goals, 28 assists, and a +/- of 15.
After Auston Matthews, Marner may be the best center on the Maple Leafs. He puts up solid numbers and has five points in the last two games. He is feeling pretty good about himself right now, which is why the Blues need to be aware of him at all times on the ice.
I would not be surprised if Marner ends with a couple of assists tonight.
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|St. Louis Blues vs Toronto Maple Leafs Information|
|What||St. Louis Blues vs Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Where||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario|
|When||Saturday, February 19, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||NHL Network|
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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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