The Toronto Maple Leafs welcome back goalie James Reimer tonight as they travel to New York to face the Rangers. Will Reimer be up to the task tonight, or have the sportsbook odds makers called it right in listing the Maple Leafs as +140 dogs? Lets breakdown this matchup and determine where the best betting value lies when it comes to making your NHL picks.

While the Boston Bruins have been receiving plenty of press as being the hottest team in the East, the New York Rangers have quietly reeled off five straight wins and have now won 12 of their last 14 games. 

As for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they’ve been struggling recently as they have lost two straight (both to the aforementioned Bruins) and are 5-7-1 in their last 13 games. No. 1 goaltender James Reimer is back in the lineup, so there are no more excuses to be made. 

Bettors, touts and pundits are watching the Leafs closely these days to see whether their great start to the season was just a flash in the pan or whether more steady play is yet to come. 

Monday, December 5th

NHL odds boards opened with the Rangers at -160 with the total set at 5.5. As Toronto will have its starting goalie back on the ice, could the NHL betting shops be underestimating this team? Lets break down this matchup and see which NHL picks have the best shot of cashing in for us at the Sportsbooks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs can win because… 

Toronto Maple LeafsThey’ve been great on the road this recently. 

Prior to losing back-to-back games to Boston, who has had the Leafs number over the last couple of seasons, the Leafs had actually won three straight on the road in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Anaheim. In total, they scored 16 goals in those three wins. They are 6-4 (+3.4 units) on the season when on the road with a total of 5.5. 

The Leafs have Reimer back in net and that should bring a steady hand to the team. They did more than just survive without him, but it was evident at times that they were merely treading water with him out. Now that he’s back, he should be able to give the Leafs a chance to win on a nightly basis and that’s the type of confidence this team needs. 

He did give up four goals to the Bruins in his first start after missing nearly six weeks, but that was more due to the Bruins relentless pressure in front of the net opposed to poor play from him. Keep in mind there’s a good chance the Leafs put Jonas Gustavsson in net on Monday as not to overwork Reimer too much early in his return. He’s played well recently and is 4-1-0 in his last five with a 2.04 GAA. 

The New York Rangers can win because… 

That’s all they’ve been doing lately. 

They’ve won five straight and 12 of 14, and they’ve been tearing through everyone in their path. One of the main reasons for this hot streak – as is usually the case for the Rangers – has been the stellar play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He’s 9-1-0 with a 1.89 GAA over his last 10 games. The Rangers are tough to beat when King Henrik is on his game. 

New York RangersNormally, the Rangers barely scrape up enough goals to get by but these days, they’re lighting the lamp aplenty. They’re averaging 4.2 goals per game over their last five

There’s a good chance the Rangers will face Gustavsson of the Leafs and if that’s the case, they’ll have a huge edge between the pipes. Gustavsson is just 2-3-0 in his career against New York with a 3.48 GAA and a mediocre .892 save percentage. The way they’ve been scoring recently, don’t be surprised if they get to four or five goals in this one. 

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Rangers are a relatively big favorite on Monday but it seems like the price is right. They have been cruising since the start of November and they believe they are going to win each and every outing. That’s the kind of confidence they are playing with. 

Meanwhile, Toronto is decent but they’ll be waltzing into Madison Square Garden with their backup goaltender after getting pounded back-to-back times by the Boston Bruins. 

If you don’t like the juice on the Rangers, consider the over as each of the last five meetings between these teams – and 17 of the last 26 – in New York have gone over. With Gustavsson in net, the lean would be in that direction.

NHL Picks: Over