The Toronto Maple Leafs return home for a three-game home set starting tonight vs. the Los Angles Kings, who are on the second game of their current six-game East Coast road swing.
The Kings took a 4-2 win over the Buds back in October but since then, Toronto has lost just one game in regulation over a span of 18 contests. The Leafs have taken a point in 12 straight games and Mitch Marner is riding a 20-game point streak. Despite the injuries, the Leafs are playing their best hockey in years.
I break it all down in my free NHL picks and predictions for Kings. vs. Maple Leafs below.
Kings vs Maple Leafs best odds
Kings vs Maple Leafs picks and predictions
The Leafs’ power play has a great opportunity tonight vs. an L.A. penalty kill that has been one of the worst units all season and even worse of late. The Kings have a 64.5% success rate on the PK over the last 30 days (30th) and a 72% rate on the season (25th). They gave up two power-play goals to the Senators on Tuesday and have killed just six of their last 14 penalties.
The Leafs’ power play has just one goal over its last three games but should get plenty of chances tonight vs. a bad PK. The last meeting saw 10 total power plays and hockey fans know that officials tend to keep penalties even. With the Kings having one of the best power plays in the league, if they score, look for the Leafs to draw the next penalty.
Toronto was shorthanded seven times vs. the Stars on Tuesday and if they keep taking penalties, they’re more than likely to see its share of power plays. It’s just the way the game is called.
Goalie Jonathan Quick has struggled shorthanded and owns a 7.73 goals against average and a -1.054 goals saved above expected/60 (GSAx/60) while shorthanded. He hasn’t been the worst goalie on the penalty kill, but he hasn’t done his team any favors with a GAA that sits below the league average.
Mitch Marner is riding a 20-game point streak and has a power-play point in 10 of those matches. He leads the team in PP points over the last 30 days and with him getting 70% of each power play, his plus-money power-play point prop looks like the best bet.
The Leafs’ recent struggles on the power play can easily be traced to its opponents as the Buds have faced seven Top-15 PK teams over their last eight games including five Top-7 penalty-killing teams. Because of that, we might be getting a better price on the Leafs’ power-play props and Marner at +150 to get a PP point and extend his streak is the best value on the board.
Don’t forget, Michael Bunting is also riding a six-game point streak and his Over 0.5 points can be had for a reasonable -125.
My best bet: Mitch Marner Over 0.5 power-play points (+150)
My best bet: Michael Bunting Over 0.5 points (-141 at SportsInteraction)
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Kings vs Maple Leafs moneyline analysis
The Leafs haven’t seen any movement in their moneyline price after opening yesterday at -175. This is a team that has lost just one game in regulation in its last 18 games despite losing four starting defensemen, making tonight's line a little long by my account.
Sheldon Keefe has done an impressive job in getting his players committed to a defensive game and it also helps when you are getting the best goaltending in hockey. Matt Murray stole the show in Dallas on Tuesday as the Leafs blanked the highest-scoring team 4-0. Murray will be on the bench tonight but Toronto is in good hands with Ilya Samsonov.
The first-year Leaf sports a 2.04 GAA and a .924 SV%. He’s played just one game since November 5 but is still 7-2 SU over his nine games. One of those losses came vs. the Kings in October as L.A. scored twice on the power play in a 4-2 win when the Leafs were playing their worst hockey of the season.
Since that meeting, the Leafs are 12-1-5 with a +1.06 goal differential per game while the Kings are 9-5-4 with a +0.17 goal differential. Los Angeles has found success with the man advantage as their 32.1% success rate since October 30 is the second-best mark in hockey. Sadly for the visitors, the Leafs are getting great penalty killing of late and just went a perfect 7-for-7 vs. the Stars Tuesday which included a lengthy 5-on-3.
If the Leafs can keep the Kings’ PP off the board, the home side should have ample opportunities to get a power-play marker of their own as the Kings have killed just nine of their last 16 penalties over the last five games and own a 66.7% penalty kill since November 1.
The Kings are 3-6 SU over their last nine games and those wins have come against some of the worst teams in hockey — OTT, ARI, and SJ.
The Leafs were -144 in L.A. in the last meeting, making today’s -175 line seem a little long when you consider home ice is worth roughly 25 points. I think the Leafs should be closer to -200 in this spot as they’re in better form, have the advantage in net as Jonathan Quick has a 4.25 GAA over his last seven starts, and also have the edge in special teams.
The Leafs were -145 at home vs. the Devils and, to me, there is more than a 30-point difference between L.A. and New Jersey.
Kings vs Maple Leafs Over/Under analysis
Tonight's game will feature one of the best Over teams in L.A. (17-9-2 O/U) vs. one of the best Under teams in Toronto (8-18-1 O/U). The total opened at 6.5 and has moved 10 points to the Under at -125.
Bettors are aware of the team defensive game the Leafs have had to adjust to thanks to the injuries on the blue line. This is a Toronto team that is without four starting defensemen but still has a 2.29 GAA over the last 30 days, the third-lowest mark in hockey.
Over the last 30 days (14 games), Toronto has allowed just 17 goals in the first AND second periods while only seeing a combined 1.43 third-period goals. Toronto’s M/O of late is to get the lead and defend and it’s been a successful strategy. They’re 7-0-0 when leading after the first period across their last 14 games.
If the Leafs get another early lead, this game could become very defensive and with the Leafs’ PK taking away the scoring strength of the Kings, I understand why bettors have moved this total 10 points to the Under.
The Leafs are 7-3 to the Under over their last 10 games and have yet to play a game this season that has seen more than seven total goals.
Kings vs Maple Leafs betting trend to know
The Maple Leafs are 9-2 SU in their last 11 when their opponent scores five goals or more in their previous game. Find more NHL betting trends for Kings vs Maple Leafs.
Kings vs Maple Leafs game info
|Location:||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Thursday, December 8, 2022|
|Puck drop:||7:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports West, TSN4|