The Toronto Maple Leafs can pull to within two points of Montreal in the race for top spot in the Atlantic Division with a win on Saturday when they play host to the rival Canadiens as narrow -115 betting favourites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Toronto has posted wins in just seven of its past 18 outings ahead of Saturday night’s Canadiens versus Maple Leafs betting matchup at Air Canada Centre. But the Leafs have also picked up points in eight of their past 11 contests, erasing the double-digit point lead that Montreal held over them in mid-January and establishing themselves as legitimate playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference.
The Maple Leafs saw a two-game winning streak halted with Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers as slim -106 home chalk, but they have surrendered just five total goals in regulation time over their past three games after giving up 11 markers in their previous two outings.
Toronto has also tallied 16 total goals in its past four home dates, forcing the total OVER on three occasions, but has struggled to produce offence during a 13-game losing streak against the Canadiens, scoring more than twice in just three of its past 10 dates with Montreal, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
While the Maple Leafs try to solidify a playoff spot, the Canadiens look to avoid going into free fall for a second straight season after suffering losses in eight of their past 10 outings.
The Canadiens limp into Toronto after falling 3-0 to the New York Islanders as -165 home favourites on Thursday night in their fourth shutout loss in the past eight games. Montreal has potted just 14 total goals during its 10-game slide, and has seen the total go UNDER in each of its past four games.
Montreal opened the season on a red-hot 13-1-1 run, lifting them to the top of the NHL standings and the Stanley Cups odds. The club peaked as +750 favourites in mid-November, but has since fallen back to +1400 odds on those futures.
With the trade deadline looming, Montreal has been abuzz with trade talk focused on addressing the club’s goal-scoring woes. Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche and Martin Hanzal of the Arizona Coyotes have both been mentioned as potential trade targets, and each sport -300 odds of being dealt by the deadline.
However, Thomas Vanek of the Detroit Red Wings, who was picked up by the Canadiens at the deadline in 2014, is a long +700 bet to return to Montreal.