NEW YORK RANGERS @ TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS PREDICTION
The Rangers are buzzing and they added the depth players they missed all season on trade deadline day. They win tonight and they are tied with the 6th placed Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference. After struggling to break the 8th seed for the past 2 weejs, Henrik Lundqvist is back to his old ways of playing brick house in between the pipes and that’s what the Rangers need coming down the stretch of the season.
As for the Leafs, if this were a regular 82 game season this would be the 40ish game mark where we would see the Leafs, well be the Leafs again. And that’s falling out of the top 8 in the East and missing the playoffs.
Every season the Leafs come out strong and every season the Leafs fall about towards the middle of the season. What else is new? (I got a new pair of skates this weekend)
I’ve said it all season that this shortened 48 game season would benefit the Maple Leafs in making the playoffs…finally. What they do in the playoffs, well that’s a topic for another day so be sure to tune in for that one.
Take the Rangers as they will go into Toronto and skate off with a victory.
New York Rangers -110 ($500)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are surging toward their first playoff berth in nine years. The New York Rangers have also turned it on since reshaping their team before the trade deadline, and they’re hoping to catch the Leafs and others in the Eastern Conference race.
The Maple Leafs (21-13-4) have been battling Ottawa for the fifth spot while solidifying their postseason hopes by going 6-1-3 in the past 10. Toronto hasn’t made the playoffs since 2003-04.
James Reimer made 27 saves and just missed his second shutout in three games in a 2-1 victory at New Jersey on Saturday.
“We’re happy with the win but we have a couple of more big games coming up with the Rangers, and the Devils again, so it’s going to be key for us to get a few more wins and keep this thing going,” center Tyler Bozak said.
Reimer has gone 5-1-3 with a 2.11 goals-against average in his last nine games. However, he allowed four goals on 41 shots in a 5-2 loss at New York on Jan. 26, when the Maple Leafs led 2-0 in the first period but gave up four goals in the third.
That was Toronto’s third consecutive defeat in the series.
The Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist has also been outstanding of late, going 6-2-2 with a 1.56 GAA in his past 10 starts. He turned in perhaps his best performance of the season Saturday, making 48 saves in a 4-1 win over Carolina.
Lundqvist has gone 4-2-0 with two shutouts and a 1.99 GAA in his last six in this series, though he’s likely to sit out one of the games against Toronto after starting Friday and Saturday.
At 3-0-1 in its last four and 2-0-1 since shipping out star forward Marian Gaborik at the deadline and adding four players in two trades, New York (19-15-4) has moved into seventh place in the East. One of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL, the Rangers have recorded at least four goals in their last three victories.
“The belief in here has held strong, we’ve held together and we’ve seen some things that we’re improving along the way,’ center Brad Richards said. “Now we’re getting some points. No matter how you get them, we need them desperately.’
Rick Nash scored for the third time in four games Saturday to push his team-leading total to 15. He has a goal and six assists in his last five games against the Maple Leafs.
Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist versus the Hurricanes to give him three and three during a four-game point streak.
New York has also seen a resurgence on the power play, going 5 for 11 over the last three games after a 2-for-23 effort in the previous 11. That newfound efficiency will be tested against a Toronto team that ranks near the top of the league in penalty killing at 86.7 percent.
The Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk has scored one goal in three of his last four against the Rangers.
Toronto is expected to be without left wing Joffrey Lupul because of an undisclosed injury sustained Thursday.
The Maple Leafs have totaled four goals and been shut out twice during their home losing streak to the Rangers, who host Toronto on Wednesday.
New York Rangers – Henrik Lundqvist
Toronto Maple Leafs – James Reimer
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