Maple Leafs vs. Jets to go Over for your NHL Picks

David Lawrence

Saturday, January 25, 2014 8:34 AM GMT

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets both had streaks come to a halt on Thursday, and they’ll aim to get back on track on Saturday, for our NHL picks, when the two meet in the lone all-Canadian matchup on the NHL schedule.

Saturday NHL Value Picks

Since the Jets moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg, they have won four of seven meetings with the Maple Leafs and five of those games were decided by one goal. In Winnipeg, the Jets have come out on top in three of four.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Can Win Because…

Their offense is carrying the team right now. Although they were held to just one goal on Thursday, that was the first time in six games that they scored less than four. The Leafs have been crushing it otherwise as they have 26 goals in their last six games. Phil Kessel is leading the way and although he was held off the scoresheet on Thursday, he had notched 14 points (six goals, eight assists), in his previous seven games. He plays well against the Jets franchise, scoring at least one goal in the last seven away games in this series.

The Jets had been impressive with their four-game winning streak but let’s be realistic: aside from catching the Anaheim Ducks on an off-night, their other wins came against Phoenix, Calgary and Edmonton. Those are three of the worst teams in the NHL right now. That’s why it’s tough to lay -130 on the Jets with your sports picks on Saturday.

The Winnipeg Jets Can Win Because….

The Jets have played extremely well since firing Claude Noel and replacing him with Paul Maurice, who will have a little extra motivation going into this game as he used to coach the Maple Leafs. Winnipeg is still 21st in the league in goals against, but they have allowed just eight goals in five games under Maurice. To no one’s surprise, they have won four of those games; their only loss came on Thursday when they were blanked 1-0 in San Jose, which isn’t a bad loss at all. They may have changed systems but overall, the Jets are simply playing with more energy at both ends of the ice and you have to wonder if they had just tuned Noel out after a while. This Winnipeg team is hitting more and it is getting the fans back on their side. After booing the team off the ice a number of times this season, fans are now giving players standing ovations after a hard-working shift. Whatever Maurice is doing, he just has to keep the team playing with this energy.

It also doesn’t hurt that Ondrej Pavalec has been playing very well lately and it seems like Maurice has given him the No. 1 job after Noel split Pavalec’s time with Al Montoya. He’s getting plenty of help from the offense, which is averaging 3.2 goals per game under Maurice.

Outlook & Pick

I’m tempted to add the Leafs to my NHL picks because they’re a nice-sized road dog but the problem is that it’s their final game in a four-game road trip. This was a quick road trip and this will be their fourth game in six nights.

Instead, I’ll go over the NHL odds. We see a total of six and I see plenty of scoring. The Leafs offense should get back on track after an off game and the Jets should continue to roll too.

NHL Pick: Over 6 at 5Dimes