New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
After finally securing a win on Saturday, their first in 11 games, Toronto are trying to back it up and show they're not quite out of the running yet. The bar is likely to be set over 90 points so the Leafs' task of securing 40 plus from the remaining 28 games seems a stretch too far to me but you're unlikely to hear those noises coming from their camp. At least the omens are good for tonight, back in the early months of the season they locked down two victories over the Rangers lighting them up for 11 goals in the process. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist is also out for New York because of a "sprained blood vessel", the timescale for his return varies quite wildly. Without the Swede they lost both games of a back to back over the weekend, throughout the season Cam Talbot has played pretty well in relief and their playoff chances are comfortable so I wouldn't say it's a disaster for coach Alain Vigneault.
Winger David Clarkson is one of Toronto's top earners but is set to be scratched again after not featuring in the win over Edmonton, in all honesty his bloated contract has turned into a bit of a nightmare for them and they won't miss his lack of production on the third line. In terms of scorers Mike Santorelli is a consistent performer and often gets much longer odds to net than his only slightly more productive teammates. The Leafs spent most of their nightmare stretch out on the road and I think at 2.70 they're worth the risk against the Lundqvist-less Rangers.
Anaheim Ducks at Florida Panthers
If anyone is to disturb the current top eight in the Eastern Conference it'll be Florida or Philadelphia at a push to do it, winning their two games in hand would put the Panthers just a win behind Boston who occupy the second wild card place. Five points from the last six against some good teams is a positive turn after a poor second half of January, that could and probably should have been six but Nashville produced a third period rally at the weekend. Anaheim are the only division leaders in a seemingly untouchable position but since the All-Star break they've been coasting at a point per game.
Dropping 3-0 down in the first period versus Tampa on Sunday meant they never really had a chance, a win in Nashville and a shootout defeat against Washington means they're 1-1-1 on this current road trip. In line with sharing the scoring responsibility around their forwards Brandon Pirri is the latest Panther to assume a lead role registering six times in his last eight appearances. Keep the opponents to two goals or less as Florida have done the last seven days and you'll always get a shot at the win. At 3.05 another upset is definitely possible.
Best Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs to win at 2.70.