The Toronto Maple Leafs are in fantastic form right now and plenty of punters will expect a huge win for the Canadian side here. Mike Babcock’s men have won eight of their last 10 National Hockey League fixtures – and a third successive triumph looks likely when the New York Islanders travel to Air Canada Centre on Thursday night.
As of February 21st, Toronto are third in the Atlantic Division and a key reason for their early season success is down to a high-powered offense. The Maple Leafs have scored 205 goals so far this campaign, Auston Matthews and co will be looking to add to that impressive tally in this contest.
At the other end of the spectrum, the New York Islanders are struggling for form over in the Metropolitan Division. With 203 goals scored, the Islanders are heading in the right direction but they have conceded 219 at the other end – poor defensive form could hinder New York in the coming months.
Toronto To Shine In Front Of Home Fans
The Maple Leafs are excellent on home ice and their latest shutout victory over the Florida Panthers will have Toronto fans dreaming of another Stanley Cup triumph. At the time of writing, punters can back the Maple Leafs at 16/1 with bet365 and it would take a brave man to back against Babcock’s side.
Toronto have won eight home games in a row and fans with long memories will recall their 5-0 victory against the Islanders in this fixture at the start of February. It could be another high scoring encounter – especially if the home side perform at their scintillating best.
KEY MAN: Auston Matthews. With 49 points in 52 games, Matthews has been outstanding when fully fit. The Maple Leafs star leads the team in goals scored (27) and he will fancy his chances of making a positive impact in this contest.
Matthews has a successful shooting percentage of 17.5% – the best figure on the Toronto roster by some distance. He has scored just once in his previous five outings though but that run surely cannot continue for much longer…
Islanders Need A Minor Miracle
It is going to take something special for New York to turn things around and the visitors may struggle to keep Toronto at bay. Defensively, the Islanders are one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League – conceding 219 goals in just 61 matches is not good enough.
With five defeats in their previous eight league games, the visitors are in desperate need of help and Doug Weight’s men will be looking to build on their attacking efforts. On offense, New York are capable of giving anybody a game but they must shore things up at the back in order to climb the Metropolitan Division ladder.
KEY MAN: John Tavares. Three Islanders players have racked up 60 points this year but John Tavares could be the one to watch. He has notched 64 points (30 goals, 34 assists) in 61 NHL appearances in 2017/18 and he is arguably the most talented player on the roster.
With two goals in his previous four league games, Tavares is in decent enough form and you wouldn’t bet against him scoring in this fixture. The Maple Leafs will need to be in top shape defensively in order to slow this New York offense down…
The Maple Leafs should have enough offensive power to cruise past New York in this fixture – Auston Matthews can fire Toronto to victory. If the Islanders are at their brilliant best in attack, they could put a couple of goals past the hosts but backing against Toronto at Air Canada Centre would be foolish at best.
MAPLE LEAFS 4-2 ISLANDERS