Leafs Cruise to a Road Win in Montreal

Dana Lane

Saturday, November 18, 2017 6:51 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 6:51 PM UTC

The Toronto Maple Leafs (13-7-0) could be without Auston Mathews again when they slide in to tonight’s match-up with the Montreal Canadiens (8-10-2) at the Bell Center. Puck drops at 7:00 ET / 4:00 PT

Free NHL Pick: Leafs -108Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens 

If this was any other sport I would immediately spot an attempt by the sportsbooks to lure you into a Toronto Maple Leafs bet but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that very little attention is being paid to the NHL on a college football Saturday. The books hear that Auston Mathews is out an immediately throw up a number the reflective of his potential absence. The Montreal Canadiens are listed as a small underdog by some books but some are offering the Habs as a favorite. When it comes to putting these numbers out, often books act in the same manner as a ‘square’ bettor would. No Mathews, home team on Hockey Night in Canada, yep, Montreal should be a heavy line influence. I say, are you kidding me. Mathews is a game-time decision with a lean on playing him according to Mike Babcock.

I’m going to say this as loud and clear as I can, Montreal allowed the Arizona Coyotes to win their first game in regulation, Thursday, after blowing a 2-0 lead. It matters very little that was a road game for Montreal, they lost to the worst team in the league and now that effort has inspired the public to put their money behind them tonight. I don’t get it sometimes; stop trying to make this harder than it is. Montreal might come up with the victory but there is no way you can come up with that conclusion if you’ve watched these teams this season, with or without Mathews. BTW (Kids like when I talk about acronyms), without Mathews the Leafs have won four straight games, so please, clue me into the conclusion that leads you to Montreal in this one.

In addition, the Montreal Canadiens haven’t beaten Toronto in almost three seasons.

Sprinkle in Montreal’s own injury issues to Carey Price, Al Montoya, Ales Hemsky, Arturri Lehkonen, who are on the IR, and Jordie Benn, Jonathan Drouin, and Max Pacioretty who have been plagued by the flu enough that they didn’t practice Friday. Stop me when something points to betting Montreal.

Special teams superiority alone is enough to back Toronto. Their 1st unit without Mathews still features Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, and James Van Riemsdyk. I’ll take that group head to head against one of the worst penalty kill teams in the league. Nothing about this game tells me Montreal is the side. I’ll take the gift that is the short price with the Leafs.

From a trend perspective, Toronto has won seven of their last nine games against teams with a losing record. Yes, Montreal has historically been very good against Toronto, winning 20 of their last 27 meetings, but what happened 10 games ago has nothing to do with what’s going to happen tonight.

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