NHL Picks: Maple Leafs vs. Rangers

David Schwab

Friday, January 25, 2013 8:10 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 8:10 PM GMT

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their first tour of duty through the Atlantic Division with a Saturday night tilt against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

NHL Game Preview and Pick- Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers

Year-to-Date NHL Record: 3-1 

The game is slated to get underway at 4 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network. Let's take a look at the NHL odds set forth for this game and se if we can decipher a winning pick.

Maple Leafs Overview

It has been a mixed bag for Toronto so far with a 2-2 record out of the gate. It started the new season with hard fought 2-1 victory over Montreal as a 128 road underdog but has lost two of its last three games while getting outscored 11-10. In its first two games against the Atlantic Division, the Maple Leafs posted an impressive 5-2 road victory over Pittsburgh as prohibitive 191 underdogs, but came out flat at home in a 7-4 loss to the Islanders as 105 favorites.

While Toronto has put on an impressive offensive show so far with an average of three goals a game, it is giving-up the same amount to its opponents. Nazem Kadri has been a force with three goals and two assists in four games and Nikolai Kulemin leads the team in assists with three. James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have split time in goal so far but look for Reimer to possibly get the start in this one after Scrivens was shelled for six goals in the loss to New York

Rangers Overview

The Rangers started their season with back-to-back losses to Boston and Pittsburgh while getting outscored 9-4. They rebounded with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Bruins earlier this week as 121 home favorites but dropped a 2-1 decision on the road to Philadelphia on Thursday night as 109 favorites. The net result is a 1-3 start and some early concerns for a team that is considered one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference this season.

While it may be just a matter of shaking off the dust from the extended layoff, New York has had early issues on both ends of the ice. Last season, it had one of the top defenses in the league but is already ranked in the bottom third in goals allowed (3.5). Part of the problem has been goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has been a bit shaky with a .895 save percentage. Offensively, Marian Gaborik almost single-handedly beat Boston the other night with a hat trick and Taylor Pratt has also found the back of the net three times so far.

Maple Leafs vs. Rangers Betting Lines and Trends

BetOnline Money Line: Maple Leafs +156 Rangers -172

Bet Online Total Line: 5.5

The Maple Leafs are 8-20 in their last 28 conference games and 2-8 in their last 10 games against the Atlantic Division. The total has gone OVER in their last six Atlantic Division games.

The Rangers are now just 1-6 in their last seven games but 7-3 in their last 10 games after being held to two or less goals in their previous outings. The total has gone OVER in three of their last four home games.

Head-to-head in this matchup, Toronto is 2-5 in the last seven meetings and the total has gone OVER in the last six games played in New York.

[gameodds]7/218153/43/us[/gameodds]

Maple Leafs vs. Rangers Game Prediction

This will be the Rangers third game in the last four days, but they have gone 6-0-1 in Game 3 of this situation the last seven times. Look for New York’s defense to finally tighten things up for their hockey betting backers and get a much needed win.

Free Hockey Picks: New York 3 - Toronto 1 (lines provided by BetOnline)

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