Maple Leafs vs Penguins Picks and Predictions: Leafs Can Bounce Back vs Hobbled Pens

Toronto needs a get-right spot, and a change of scenery from its critical fanbase may be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, Pittsburgh's injuries won't hurt the cause either, as our Maple Leafs vs Penguins picks explain.

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2021 10:03 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs NHL
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The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t have much time to lick their wounds from last night’s 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks as they travel across the border for the first time since early 2020 and take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. 

The Leafs will roll with No. 1 goalie Jack Campbell on the backend of this traveling back-to-back while the Penguins could go with Tristan Jarry, who recently had a false positive virus scare, but was practicing on Friday. Toronto opened as -140 favorites with a total set at 6. 

Here are our free NHL betting picks and predictions for Maple Leafs vs. Penguins for Saturday, October 23.

Maple Leafs vs Penguins odds

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Maple Leafs vs Penguins picks

Picks made on 10/22/2021 at 9:20 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Maple Leafs vs Penguins game info

Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Saturday, October 23, 2021
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBC, NHLN, SNPT

Maple Leafs vs Penguins betting preview

Injuries

Maple Leafs: Ilya Mikheyev F (Out), Petr Mrazek G (Out), Ondrej Kase F (Questionable).

Penguins: Sidney Crosby F (Out), Evgeni Malkin F (Out), Jeff Carter F (Out), Bryan Rust F (Out).

Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Maple Leafs vs Penguins head-to-head record (2018-2020)

Maple Leafs: 3-3, 15 goals for.
Penguins: 3-3, 16 goals for.

Betting trend to know

The Maple Leafs are 8-1 in their last nine Saturday games. Find more NHL betting trends for Maple Leafs vs. Penguins.

Maple Leafs vs Penguins picks and predictions

The perception around Leafs Nation is as though the Maple Leafs are 0-15 to start the year, as the fanbase has become increasingly vocal about the performance of the team’s best players. But this is still a team that’s 2-2-1 and perhaps a trip away from the Toronto media and hype is exactly what this underachieving squad needs right now.

The Leafs basically punted away last night’s match as they had to start third-string goal, Michael Hutchinson. Today, with Jack Campbell between the pipes, the Leafs will be much tighter in goal, as Campbell owns a 1.15 GAA along with a .953 save percentage across three starts. He’s been the best Leaf player on the ice when he plays.

The Leafs finally scored more than two goals last night but probably should have had more. Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have zero goals between them and just one assist. The points will come from the top line and we like tonight to be that night. We've been fading this team regularly, but sooner or later, these pucks will start to go in. Toronto sits on top of the league in expected goals for/60.

Toronto has played great at even strength and has the third-best xG% at 5 on 5 and gets to face a Pittsburgh team that has played well without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but will now also have to deal with the absence of first-liner Jeff Carter, who is out. That makes four Top-6 players unavailable for the Pens, as winger Bryan Rust is also on the shelf.

The Penguins have been great at controlling the play, but not as good as Toronto. The Leafs’ M.O. is puck possession and they sit third in the league in Corsi% and Fenwick%. 

Toronto has been getting some life out of their bottom-six forwards, and facing a Pittsburgh team that will likely ice a top line of Evan Rodrigues, Kasperi Kapanan and Jake Guentzel, the Leafs should have the better matchups even without the last change.

We think Toronto gets it going tonight and getting away from Scotiabank Arena is a huge bonus. The Penguins missing their Top-3 centers is also a huge advantage for the visitors. It’s the puckline for us at +200, but the Leafs in regulation at plus money is also a great play.

The Over finally hit for the Leafs last night in their 5-3 loss. All it took was one of the worst goalies in the league to help it along. Hutchinson deflated a Leafs team by not giving them a chance to stay in the game. That shouldn’t be the case tonight, as Campbell has been a stud ever since taking over the starting gig last season. Campbell is 4-0 to the Under this season and is 13-3-2 to the Under in his last 18 games. 

The Pens have surprised many out of the gates, with a win versus Tampa in the opener and taking a point off the Panthers in their second game. Since then, the Pens have lost to a weak Dallas team, 2-1, and beat a dysfunctional Chicago team 5-2. Saturday will be a better test than Pittsburgh’s previous games and missing its three top centers won’t help the cause in the scoring department.

Projected Pittsburgh starter Tristan Jarry has been great this year and hasn’t allowed more than one goal in any of his three starts. Like Campbell, Jarry has been the player on the ice for his team when he starts.

Neither team's power play has impressed in the early goings while both clubs are boasting Top-10 penalty-killing units.

We hit the Leafs’ Over last night but think Sheldon Keefe’s group gets back to a tighter game with Campbell in net. It’s the Under 6 in this one.

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