The Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs will do battle today and we have the inside scoop on this matchup. Read our informative NHL betting article on this contest which culminates with a money line selection.
Maple Leafs in South Florida
The Florida Panthers will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday with the opening faceoff slated for 5:05 PM ET. According to the NHL odds at 5Dimes, Florida is a -117 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.5. This will be the first meeting of the season between these clubs. The Panthers went 3-1 versus the Maple Leafs a season ago, and won both games on home ice.
The Probable Starters in Goal
The Florida Panthers will likely have veteran Roberto Luongo in goal for today’s Eastern Conference battle. Luongo has seen just 8 of his 26-starts (30.8%) this season go over the total, and he’s compiled a stellar .924 save percentage.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Jonathan Bernier is their probable starter in goal today. Bernier has been brilliant in 7-starts on the road this season, posting an excellent .940 save percentage, and that included one shutout.
Why to like Toronto?
Toronto has been one of the more dynamic goal scoring teams in the NHL during this early part of the season. They’re averaging 3.4 goals per game. Considering they will be facing a Panthers team that averages only 2.3 goals per outing, it would certainly seem as if the Leafs matchup very well against tonight’s opponent.
The Florida Panthers are coming off a 4-3 home win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in their previous game. The Panthers have gone a dismal 0-7 at home the last 2-seasons following a game in which they scored 4-goals or more. Florida is also a terrible 10-33 the last 2-seasons following a win.
Why to Like Florida
The Panthers enter tonight’s game having won 3 of their last 4 overall, and have been victorious in 3 consecutive home games. They’ll be facing a starting goaltender tonight in Jonathan Bernier who has a very good .921 save percentage on the season. Florida has gone a profitable 10-4 this season versus an opposing starting goaltender with a .915 or better save percentage.
Toronto will be facing an opponent (Florida) today which has converted on only 12.9% of their power play chances this season. The Maple Leafs have gone a miserable 1-9 the past two seasons versus an opponent that cashes in on 14.5% or less of their power play opportunities. I’ve already alluded to Florida’s low scoring (2.3 gpg) output for the year. Well the Leafs have gone a terrible 1-7 this season versus opponents that average 2.55 or less goals per game.
Today will also be the start of a difficult 3-game in 4-day home stand for the Panthers in which they will also face the Canadiens and Rangers. It will serve as a measuring stick in regards to if they’re a legitimate playoff contender. Getting off on a positive note today would be a huge confidence builder. I believe they will be up to the challenge, and also look for Roberto Luongo to turn in a superb effort to help the cause. My lean will be on the home team in this one for one of my NHL picks today.
Free NHL Pick: Florida -117 over Toronto on the money line at 5Dimes