Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs
After just falling short against the NY Islanders two nights ago the Maple Leafs get a much easier chance to ease fan frustration. Buffalo have lost four in a row and were hammered 6-1 by Washington at the weekend, it's almost certain they will finish bottom of the East. The last time their offence properly performed was two weeks ago versus Vancouver but it's possible that the only scorer from that game to play tonight is skipper Brian Gionta. Zach Bogosian has so far been a good pickup for the Sabres but is a doubt for tonight after making a tough shot block on Saturday.
Add that to the day-to-day status of Meszaros and long term injury Josh Gorges then this defensive group has such an inexperienced look to it. Without Zemgus Girgensons too the man set to center their top line is Swedish rookie Johan Larsson who doesn't have 10 NHL points to his name. It's easy to forget that only two teams have scored more at home than the Leafs and Monday night against the Isles showed they can compete with strong teams. I can't make the case for Buffalo here so back Toronto over the handicap.
Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames
They've been dubbed the "Cardiac Kids" and Calgary lived up to the nickname once again with a four goal comeback against Ottawa on Sunday. Although they ended up losing in a shootout every point is valuable at this stage and it means they've taken something from every game so far this month. Anaheim have had the edge against them so far this season but might be vulnerable after losing back to back. A dominant performance against Vancouver two nights ago went unrewarded after another unconvincing night for goalie Frederik Andersen. I think Bruce Boudreau has a decision to make ahead of the postseason as John Gibson was playing lights out before Andersen returned to action.
It's been tough for Calgary to match up against the Ducks' size but they've at least proven they can create offence against them. Kyle Palmieri has been a thorn in the Flames' side with four goals in the series but has only scored twice since the start of February. Four straight multi-point efforts from Jiri Hudler make him one to watch too and Mikael Backlund has also hit a purple patch for Calgary. This fixture just doesn't suit the Flames though and while I think they have a shot at the tie back Anaheim for victory at 2.25.
Best Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs to overcome a -1.5 goal handicap at 2.25.