The Red Wings have wins in their last 2 games and travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs who dropped 7 of 8. Let’s take a look at the NHL odds & determine which club to back in our NHL picks.
Detroit Red Wings (6-6 SU, -1.0 units)
When last the Red Wings took to the ice they hosted the talented Tampa Bay Lightning. It was another fine performance for goaltender Jimmy Howard who stopped 29 of 30 Lightning shots en route to a narrow 2-1 victory. The NHL Odds makers had made the Wings a slight underdog in their own building but they came up with an impressive win off the efforts of not only their stellar goaltending but Riley Sheahan, who notched the first goal of the game, and the 19-year-old whiz kid Dylan Larkin.
Larkins is a team-leading +10 in goal differential and has contributed mightily to the Detroit offense with nine points in 12 games. Veteran Henrik Zetterberg leads the team in points with 14 while teammate Gustav Nyquist has five lamp-lighters to lead all Red Wings. Detroit has platooned the goaltending chores between Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek. Reports are that Mrazek will be between the pipes for this matchup tonight. In his last start on Saturday night he made 33 saves in a 5-3 victory over the Senators in Ottawa.
Toronto Maple Leafs (2-10 SU, -7.4)
To all of you who have steadfastly included the Toronto Maple Leafs in your NHL Picks this season, you have my sympathies. The Leafs have tanked under new head coach Mike Babcock, formerly of the Detroit Red Wings, and it has more to do with a lack of talent than any schism between coach and players. However Babcock sees improvement despite the 2-10 record and their place in the standings. The Leafs stunned the Dallas Stars with an impressive 4-1 win and then lost their last game to the Winnipeg Jets 4-2.
"Lots of good things happened for our hockey club," Babcock said. "I liked our group (Wednesday). We were competitive, we looked organized."
While that is most likely coach-speak for “we’re trying” the Maple Leafs do have a few bright spots. Right winger Joffrey Lupul finally came alive with a pair of goals against Dallas and has five on the season to lead the team. Between the pipes James Reimer has stolen the starting job, at least temporarily, from the banged up Jonathan Bernier who was pulled in his last outing. Reimer is the confirmed starter in tonight’s showdown with Detroit.
NHL Betting Analysis
I’m not sure if there is any value in betting the Maple Leafs against the Red Wings no matter the return. There is no value in losing is the old saying and though it can be a recipe for disaster to make a habit out of laying the lumber on the road sometimes you just have to do it.
Detroit has it all over the Maple Leafs and I cannot see how this 26th ranked offense, scoring only 2.2 goals per game, is going to crack the code of the Red Wings’ defense and goaltending. The Leafs are a young group that have not developed any chemistry and they will be a work-in-progress throughout the season. However at this point they are a fade first team and that appears to be the case tonight against a much more talented Detroit club.
The last time these two teams met the Red Wings skated to a 4-0 shutout with Jimmy Howard tending the twine. It was one of the first games of the season and I can clearly see that nothing has changed except the venue.
NHL Pick: Play Detroit -115 at Pinnacle