Extra Motivation to Help Maple Leafs Extend Domination of Ducks

Dana Lane

Monday, February 5, 2018 5:07 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 5:07 PM UTC

The Maple Leafs are dealing with a minor distraction but that could help their cause Monday night against the Ducks, who are 3-9 in the last 12 games of this series.

Monday NHL: Ducks vs. Maple LeafsFree NHL Pick: Maple Leafs -130Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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It appears there is some minor discontent in Toronto, as news came down that forward Josh Leivo has requested a trade. Not really all that surprising considering he hasn’t found ice time since the loss to Vegas on New Year’s Eve. Leivo asking for a trade isn’t really that big of a deal, but that does give a subtle reminder that any deal might be a package deal because the Leafs have five unrestricted free agents to trade or risk losing for nothing in the offseason.

I’m a big believer in betting from a mental aspect, mostly because if I wasn’t betting sports for a living I’d probably be a psychologist. Most laugh at this but they understand, so that’s their natural reaction. The NHL trade deadline is three weeks away and the Leafs are in contention for a high playoff seed. No one wants to get traded from that scenario to one that might not even produce a postseason appearance. Word of any trade starts the ball of fear rolling that some of these guys might be dealt.

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A misplay and @Marner93 ties it in the first. #TMLtalk pic.twitter.com/rOxnzV1tbO

— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 4, 2018

Let’s face it, most of these players are trying to pretend they aren’t a candidate to be dealt. Unless your last name is Matthews, Marner or Nylander you can’t feel secure. I think any threat of a deal, even if it’s by someone who normally watches from the players' section every night, sends a message to the whole team, and from that, you can expect a solid effort from the Leafs on home ice.

The Ducks felt good about themselves after stopping Boston's 18-game point streak last week, but since then they have lost to Ottawa and Montreal, two teams they shouldn’t have a problem with. Now they are left looking for answers with Ryan Miller as their goaltender due to Josh Gibson's lower-body injury. It's likely Miller will start tonight against Frederik Andersen and the Leafs, who are home favorites on the NHL odds board.

When making NHL picks I always want to be on the better team that has reason to be motivated, and tonight that’s Toronto.

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