The Toronto Maple Leafs have had poor luck against the Vancouver Canucks, having lost each of the past nime matchups. Will they be able to put an end to this streak tonight? NHL odds makers think not, but should we?

The Toronto Maple Leafs want to believe they’re a playoff team. They’d love it even more so if their fans, bettors and touts believed they were a playoff team. Unfortunately, the reality has proven to be quite different.

Entering Saturday’s schedule, the Leafs are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The way they’re playing these days, even qualifying for the eighth seed will be nothing more than a symbolic one-round appearance.

They have just one win in their last five and are struggling in net. They look like a fading boxer and a visit to Vancouver isn’t what the doctor ordered. Hopefully General Manager Brian Burke is working the phones to make an acquisition because the Leafs need a boost in the worst way.

Saturday, February 18th

NHL odds boards list the Canucks at -185 with a total of 5.5, and early sports betting action has left the numbers unchanged. Will the Canucks continue to dominate the series tonight, or will Toronto fine a way to pull off the upset? Lets decide which NHL picks we are worth putting our money on.

The Toronto Maple Leafs can win because…

Vancouver CanucksThe Vancouver Canucks are an unreliable sports betting pick as a huge favorite. Even though recently they’ve been a little more reliable, the reality is that they’ve been barely squeaking by. Seven of the Canucks last 11 games have gone to shootouts.

That indicates that Toronto should find themselves with a shot to win – even if there is a significant disparity between the teams.

The Leafs got a boost from Tim Connolly in their latest contest as he scored the overtime winner against Edmonton. That was just his first goal in 18 games but he’s a talented center and that woke him up, the Leafs could be beneficiaries to some supplementary scoring. They need someone from the second or third lines to step up as they can’t seem to beat elite teams when that’s not the case.

The Vancouver Canucks can win because…

They own this series. They’ve won nine straight over the Toronto Maple Leafs and there’s little reason to believe that trend will change on Saturday.

The Vancouver Canucks are playing great these days as they haven’t lost in regulation in over a month. They are 8-0-3 in their last 11 games whereas the Leafs have just two wins in their last six and both have come at the expense of the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

Much of the dominance in this series can be attested to the goaltending of Roberto Luongo. He’s 12-6-2 against Toronto with a 2.40 GAA and a .925 save percentage. He’s been in net seven times during the Canucks nine-game winning streak over Toronto.

The Leafs have been very leaky defensively as they’ve given up 17 goals in their last four games. The Canucks, who lead the Western Conference in goals per game, will be licking their chops.

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Leafs are showing their true colors down the stretch of the season. As All-Stars Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul receive more defensive attention, the Leafs are showing that they really don’t have the secondary scoring necessary to take the pressure off.

The Canucks also have a huge edge in net and maybe freshness as well. They’ve had a couple of days off at home while the Maple Leafs will be finishing up their three-game west coast swing in Vancouver on Saturday. Take the Canucks.

NHL Picks: Canucks