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Maple Leafs Look To Get On Track While Sens Clash With Jets On Saturday Night

Posted by Don Melrose on 11/7/2014 10:34:22 PM

The Montreal Canadiens were Canada’s lone representative in last year’s playoffs but things have looked different early on this year with the Ottawa Senators looking like a contender in the Eastern Conference while the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Winnipeg Jets look poised to contend for a postseason spot in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have stumbled out of the gate and could be at risk of missing the playoffs a second-straight year if they don’t get on track in a hurry. Here is a quick look at the matchups involving Canadian teams this Saturday night.

New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

Toronto managed to salvage a point from its trip to Colorado on Thursday but they have already lost twice past regulation and that is the difference between being 6-5-2 and 8-5-0. The Maple Leafs needs to find ways to start winning games whether it’s regulation, overtime, or in the shootout and that will require a renewed focus and better goaltending. Jonathan Bernier will likely get the call Saturday at home against Henrik Lundqvist and a Rangers team that is coming off a win over the Detroit Red Wings. Lundqvist has been inconsistent early on and the Maple Leafs must take advantage at home against a team they will likely be battling for a playoff spot come March and April.

NHL Betting Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs

Minnesota Wild @ Montreal Canadiens

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

The Canadiens sat atop the Eastern Conference standings as of Friday morning but their recent play has been far worse than expected of a team in first place. Carey Price and Dustin Tokarski have done everything they can to steal points behind a team that has looked awful at times since the start of their Western road trip last week and that includes a pair of blowout losses to Calgary and Chicago since returning home. A couple of days off should help Montreal regain its focus while Minnesota is coming off a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators in which they looked like the tired team. Losing Zach Parise to a concussion also hurts the Wild, which will be in tough if they fall behind early against a Canadiens team that is due for a strong performance.

NHL Betting Pick: Montreal Canadiens

Winnipeg Jets @ Ottawa Senators

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

Winnipeg finally looks like a legitimate playoff team only now the Jets have to contend with a much tougher schedule in the Western Conference where actually making the postseason will be a lot more difficult. Earning points against teams from the East will help although the Senators have played very good hockey of late with a 6-2-2 record over their past 10 games. Ondrej Pavelec and Craig Anderson should help keep this a low scoring game but will take Pavelec in another tight game that could very well end up going past regulation.

NHL Betting Pick: Winnipeg Jets

Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings

Saturday, 10:00 PM ET

The Canucks found the answer up front with the addition of Radim Vrbata on the top line and Nick Bonino’s arrival as the second line center. Ryan Miller has provided the steady presence the team needs in goal and that has helped with the confidence of the team in front of him. Vancouver has posted a 6-2-0 record on the road but they will be in tough against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings on the road. Los Angeles has overcome a ton of key injuries early on this season and a key divisional game will be a motivating factor as they get back on track with a victory.

NHL Betting Pick: Los Angeles Kings

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