New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs will face each other in the NHL 2021-22 action on Wednesday evening. The hosts are in very good form, and they seek their third win in a row. The away side has been running hot and cold lately, and they look forward to stabilizing their performances.
New York is still in the race to finish the regular season on the top of their division. Therefore, the home side needs to continue its successful streak to keep challenging the Hurricanes. On the other hand, Toronto is comfortable in the playoffs zone, but their search for the best possible position. The visitors haven’t been too consistent lately, and they want a series of positive results.
New York Rangers – Will they continue challenging the top-spot finish?
The Rangers enjoy a pretty successful campaign, as they will likely secure their place among the post-season participants. However, it’s still blurry which position they will snatch ahead of the playoffs. We should see an exciting battle for the Metropolitan Division’s top spot, as four teams have the chance to secure the pole position. New York is currently joint first with Carolina Hurricanes, with a 25-10-4 record. They go to this clash after two straight wins, and the latest one came against the Flyers on the road. Igor Shesterkin had a very good display, allowing just two goals and having a .929 save percentage.
Adam Fox leads the Rangers’ offense with 39 points, including a team-high 34 assists, while Chris Kreider has been the team’s top scorer with 24 goals, also having a total of 35 points. Mika Zibanejad has also managed to contribute with 35 points, while Artemi Panarin has 38. On the other hand, Igor Shesterkin has been the Rangers’ starting goalie on 23 occasions, having an excellent .939 save percentage. He has allowed just 1.99 goals per contest so far, and New York celebrated 17 times with him between the pipes.
Expected Line-Up: Alexandar Georgiev, Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad
with best odds
Toronto Maple Leafs – Can they improve their consistency?
The Maple Leafs are on the right track to the playoffs, as they sit in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, with a 24-9-3 record. Although they are eight points behind the top-placed Lightning, Toronto has five games in hand. In other words, a good streak would launch them to the top spot battle. However, the Maple Leafs need to stabilize their form since they won and lost twice in the previous four rounds. Toronto heads to this one after beating the Blues 6-5 on the road, where they were very good in the offense.
Auston Matthews has been Toronto’s most productive player with 40 points while topping the team’s goalscoring charts with 25 goals. Morgan Rielly is the Maple Leafs’ best assistant with 27 while contributing with a total of 31 points. William Nylander and John Tavares are the other two skaters to reach a 30-point mark, while three others chipped in with 20+ points. On the goal, Jack Campbell made the most appearances – 28 – having a .931 save percentage and allowing 2.13 goals per game on average.
Expected Line-Up: Jack Campbell, Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, William Nylander, Auston Matthews, Michael Bunting
Expert Pick #1 – Rangers to win (Inc. OT and Pen.) @+140
In my opinion, the bookies have underestimated the Rangers heavily in this match. The Maple Leafs head to their fifth straight outing, having a 2-2 record in the latest four. New York has been very good on the home ice, and the plus money odds provide an excellent value. Therefore, I’ll back the Rangers as my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 5.5 @+100
New York has been involved in low-scoring matches pretty often recently, and I expect another tight display. Six of their previous seven games stayed under the margin, and it will be the first alternative bet for this encounter.
Expert Pick #3 – Maple Leafs Under 3.5 @-145
Although the Maple Leafs are a very talented team, the Rangers should hold them under a 3.5 margin in this one. New York allowed four goals just once on the previous eight occasions, and I see them making another excellent defensive effort. That’s going to be my third pick.