Maple Leafs vs Flames – NHL Pick for November 28th
With the calendar approaching December and the weather getting colder it officially feels like the start of hockey season. Add in an absolutely massive slate of NHL games on Tuesday night and it doesn’t get any better for bettors. With so many games on tap, it’s tough to pick just one to choose but there’s an all Canadian matchup out west that should get everyone excited.
The Maple Leafs and Flames are set to do battle in Calgary with both teams firmly in the playoff picture early in the season. Both teams feature some absolute all-stars early in the season and are playing an exciting brand of hockey that can be tough to predict. With that being said, there’s always an edge to find somewhere.
Toronto enters the matchup on Tuesday after a tough loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals over the weekend. The Leafs showed a resilience in that loss to come back from down 3-0 to make it 3-2, but Alex Ovechkin sealed the deal for Washington when he scored his third goal of the night on an empty-netter. Now the Leafs will need to try and find a way to jump out to an early lead like they were doing early in the beginning of the season.
With the exception of a five-goal outburst against a weak defensive team in Carolina, the Leafs have scored just four goals over their last three games. They still rank 4th in the NHL in goals per game at 3.52 but a large part of that number is courtesy of an extremely hot start out of the gate. Their goal production has dried up a bit of late and they’ll need to find a way to put pucks in the net against a Calgary team that is no stranger to scoring the puck.
While Auston Matthews made a triumphant return from injury with two goals in a blowout of Montreal, he has yet to score since. This will mark his 5th game since finding the back of the net and while he continues to contribute all over the ice, the Leafs do need him to score. Coach Mike Babcock continues to try different players on the ice with Matthews and if he finds a formula he likes before Toronto takes on Calgary, the Flames could be in trouble.
Luckily for the home team, they seem to have a superstar in the making as well. Johnny Gaudreau may be one of the smallest players on the ice on any given night, but he also is likely to make the biggest impact. Through 23 games this season the 5’9” forward has 11 goals and 23 assists for an incredible 34 points to place him in a tie for second in league scoring, just two points behind Steven Stamkos. He was held off the scoresheet against Colorado in his last outing and with the way Toronto has been playing defense this season you can expect him to make some noise early.
It’s been almost a year since these two teams met so trying to gain any useful stats about their typical matchup is tough. With that in mind, Toronto handed Calgary a brutal 4-0 loss all the way back in January but that game was at the ACC. The game before that? You guessed it, Calgary was the victor with a 3-0 spanking of their own in their home arena. The best information we can go on is how these teams have been playing lately and the simple answer is: about the same.
Toronto hasn’t lost back to back games many times this season and are a nice pick at +104 on the road.