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Maple Leafs Penguins Betting – Pens Get Up Early, Fend Off Slow-Starting Maple Leafs

Posted by Don Melrose on 3/6/2012 4:12:46 PM
maple leafs penguins betting

Sports betting handicappers witnessed a coaching change in Toronto last week, and it spawned a victory on Saturday, but the Maple Leafs’ woes aren’t in their rearview mirror just yet. They’ve had a habit of starting slowly in games and it’ll cost them in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins aim to put a sloppy effort behind them.

What: NHL Betting
When: Wednesday, March 7th, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins

Why Bet On Toronto Maple Leafs (30-28-7, 67 points)

Randy Carlyle was victorious in his debut behind the Toronto bench on Saturday night as the Maple Leafs rolled to a 3-1 win on the road against their rivals from Montreal, snapping a six-game skid. Mikhail Grabovski played his most inspired game of the past month with two goals and an assist against his former team, while Matt Frattin added a single and Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Canadiens 42-22 and came out on fire from the puck drop. Obviously, the story coming into the game was Toronto’s struggles, which ended with Ron Wilson receiving his pink slip after being booed at the Air Canada Center and Carlyle, who led Anaheim to a Stanley Cup under current Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, and the Maple Leafs really took it to Montreal, especially in the third period when they outshot the Canadiens 17-5 and Grabovski scored both of his goals.

The Maple Leafs are healthy as they prepare for Boston’s visit on Tuesday night, which is fantastic because Toronto needs everyone on deck to make one more push for the postseason. Toronto finally got some big saves from one of their goalies, although they put enough pressure on the Canadiens that their goalie didn’t feel overwhelmed. Neither Gustavsson nor James Reimer has been consistent enough for the Maple Leafs this season and they’re 28th in goals allowed, and the defense has been shaky, at best. If they’re all going to come together, now is the time.

Why Bet On Pittsburgh Penguins (39-21-5, 83 points)

The Penguins have managed to stay in the minds of NHL betting players without captain Sidney Crosby, and they’re rolling after a 2-1 victory over Phoenix on Monday to run their winning streak to six games. Zbynek Michalek and Chris Kunitz notched first-period markers and then Marc-Andre Fleury took care of the rest with a 36-save performance for the Penguins, who were outshot 37-28, including 10-5 in the third period. The team as a whole didn’t look very good, but unlike the Maple Leafs, the Penguins know that they’re going to get solid goaltending from Fleury, who doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the best goalies in the league. Evgeni Malkin added an assist and now leads the league in points, proving that he isn’t just the Robin to Crosby’s Batman; the gifted Russian is more than capable of carrying a team. As long as you have a couple players that can put the team on their backs, you can make it in the NHL and the Penguins have that in Malkin and Fleury; it’s to the point that some are suggesting the Penguins look into trading the injury-plagued Crosby, although that would be a gross overreaction.

Kris Letang (concussion) joins Crosby (concussion) and Derek Engelland (lower body) on the sidelines, and this is worrying as Letang missed time earlier this year because of a concussion and he could be out for a while. However, the Penguins don’t seem to care when one of their players goes to the press box, everyone seems to raise their game to fill the void. Dan Bylsma has long been one of the best coaches in the NHL, but the way that he keeps this team going in the face of injuries year after year is incredible.

How It Will Play Out

The NHL betting odds on Wednesday night will favor the Penguins at home, where they are 21-8-2 this season and have won three of their last four against the Maple Leafs, who are 14-16-2 on the road and will be coming off a presumably tough game against the defending champions from Boston on Tuesday night.

The Penguins also didn’t put forth a very good effort against the Coyotes and they’ll rectify that as they jump on the Maple Leafs early; Toronto has been prone to slow starts and have to expend a lot of energy digging themselves out of a hole. Carlyle still has a lot of work to do on this team, and it won’t be fixed overnight. Go with Pittsburgh at home in Wednesday’s online betting picks.

Maple Leafs Penguins Betting Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins

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