Maple Leafs Your NHL Pick In Bounce Back Game Over Blue Jackets

Bruce Webster

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 1:33 PM GMT

The Columbus Blue Jacketstravel to meet the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Who will come out on top? Find out our NHL pick for this matchup.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Lines: Toronto -135/ Columbus +122
Total: 5.5
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Free NHL Pick: Toronto
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

The NHL odds are out for this game as the Columbus Blue Jackets (15-24-3-1 SU, 22-21 PL, 20-20-3 OU) will have taken on the Islanders on Tuesday night prior to this game and will be looking to snap a three game losing streak in that game, while the Toronto Maple Leafs (16-17-3-4 SU, 26-14 PL, 16-19-5 OU) come in off a bad 7-0 shutout loss to the San Jose Sharks. The Road team has taken eight of the last 11 in the series.

 

Goaltending is Killing the Blue Jackets Right Now
The Blue Jackets loss their number one goalie sergei Bobrovsky a few weeks back and things have gotten even worse for the Blue Jackets, who now have the fewest points in the NHL. Bobrovsky wasn’t spectacular, but hs 2.52 GAA is much better play than they have been getting. Curtis McElhinney was looked at as the backup, but he has gone just 2-8 with a 3.33 GAA and now Anton Forsberg has been called up to pretty much take his place. Forsberg is 1-2 with a 2.49 GAA so far, but still will that last as he was 0-4 with a 4.69 GAA last year. The other goalie on the roster is Joonas Korpisalo, who is just 1-5 with a 3.69 GAA since being called up. They are the first six starts of his career.

As a result of all the problems in the crease right now the Blue Jackets have allowed 3.71 GAA in their last 14 games and are now dead last in the league in goals allowed for the year, giving up 3.21 gpg on the year. They have been decent on the penalty kill though, allowing teams to convert on 19.5% of their power play chances, which is 14th in the league. Anton Forsberg will get the start at the Islanders on Tuesday night, so it will probably be Korpisalo that gets the nod in this one. The Blue Jackets have not been as bad on the offensive end as they are 20th in scoring, putting up 2.5 gpg, while converting on 18.2% of teir power play chances, which is 16th in the league.

 

Maple Leafs Get Blasted in San Jose
It was truly a bad game for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they fell to the San Jose Sharks by a 7-0 score on Saturday night. This after they played a solid game and only lost 2-1 to Los Angeles on Friday night.  Jonathan Bernier had been playing much better for the Maple Leafs after his 0-11 start, but he took the loss in this game, allowing all seven goals. He is now 6-14 with a 3.14 GAA on the year. The Maple Leafs are glad to have back James Reimer, who has been much better in goal than Bernier has. Reimer may be just 7-9 on the year, but that isn’t his entire fault as he has a 1.97 GAA. The offense has really struggled for him. Reimer is slated to start this game and is 1-3 with a 4.65 GAA in his career vs the Blue Jackets.

Overall the Maple Leafs check in at 19th in goals allowed, giving up 2.7 gpg, while allowing teams to convert on just 19% of their power play chances, which is a pretty decent 13th in the league. The offense has been an issues for this team this year as they come in ranked 19th in scoring, putting up just 2.5 gpg, while converting on 18.4% of their power play chances, which is 15th in the league. Last year the Maple Leaf special teams were among the worst in the league, but this year they are middle of the pack, so Mike Babcock really turned those units around for this team.

 

Trends for Columbus:
5-16 in their last 21 vs. the Atlantic
5-11 in their last 16 in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation

 

Trends for Toronto:
35-17 in their last 52 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400

 

Betting Analysis
A few factors are really in the favor of the Leafs in this one. First off is that they will be well rested, while the Blue Jackets are playing on no rest and traveling. Next is the fact that the the Maple Leafs have now had a few days to stew over their 7-0 loss, so you can fully expect their best effort in this one. Lastly is the edge they will have in goal, with Reimer back and taking on most likely Korpisalo. Too many edges here for the Leafs, and for my NHL picks, I'll look for them to bounce back from that bad loss in San Jose.

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