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Maple Leafs Need Important Two Points Versus Panthers

Posted by Don Melrose on 3/24/2013 6:56:59 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs in seven-consecutive seasons. With the race in the Eastern Conference heating up, now is the time for them to prove they deserve a shot this year. The Maple Leafs will look for an important two points when they host the Florida Panthers this Tuesday night, and while they managed to survive a five-game losing streak that dropped them as low as seventh in the conference, they can’t afford anything less than an online betting win against the worst team in the NHL.

Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Tuesday March 26, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
NHL Sportsbook Line: Toronto – 140

Florida has gone from first to worst in less than one full season, and was shutout in the first meeting of the season between these teams. The Panthers rank 23rd in goals per game and dead-last in goals per game allowed, but they have shown an ability to steal wins against teams that haven’t been ready for them.

NHL Betting Preview: Florida Panthers

Considering the sports betting numbers, it’s amazing that Florida has nine wins this season in the first place. The Panthers have caught a couple of contenders off guard already this year, including a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers last Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Florida has struggled to keep the puck out of its own net, and was blanked in the first meeting between these teams. Part of the problem defensively is a penalty-kill that ranks 30th in the NHL this season, as the Panthers have given up far too many goals down a man. Tomas Kopecky has gotten hot of late and has scored a team-leading 12 goals, but the offense overall has been very inconsistent.

NHL Betting Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

Just one game above .500 through its first 15 home games, there is little doubt that Toronto has left some points on the table that would have really helped so far this season. The Maple Leafs need to be better at home, and they have an excellent chance to get on track with a win over Florida. It would certainly help if Toronto could get its 18th-ranked powerplay going against the worst penalty-killing team in the NHL, especially considering this team already ranks sixth in the league in goals per game this season. The Maple Leafs have been much better when they play a two-way game and generate offense in transition, and that is something they did will against the Panthers the first time around.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

A five-game losing streak had fans remembering the Maple Leafs’ struggles the last few seasons, and some of the late collapses that have plagued the team over time. Toronto can’t afford another letdown again this year, and absolutely needs to secure an important two points against the last-place Panthers this Tuesday in order to move one step closer to clinching a playoff spot and ending their lengthy drought.

NHL Betting Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs

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