Face-off: 1900 ET, 17/02/2022
Arena: Scotiabank Arena
Toronto have lost twice to Pittsburgh this season but may now be playing well enough to turn the tables at Scotiabank Arena.
The Penguins are on a four-match winning run but have only been workmanlike against weaker opposition, whereas the Maple Leafs are coming off a big victory at Seattle.
We’re taking 2.05 for a home triumph in regular time to kick off our Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins predictions.
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Toronto Maple Leafs Odds
Toronto bounced back from losses at Calgary and Vancouver by thrashing the Kraken 6-2 to make it seven wins out of nine.
Mitchell Marner had a goal and two assists at Climate Pledge Arena in what felt like a statement of intent for the rest of the season.
“I thought we were elite on special teams,” beamed head coach Sheldon Keefe. “That was fun to watch. That really set us up to win the hockey game.”
Marner has now reached 400 career points, while Michael Bunting has six goals in seven outings and 15 this term.
Goalie Jack Campbell said of Bunting: “He’s such a warrior and just brings it every night. He’s tough to defend as a goalie. He’s in your face and really skilled around the net.”
Toronto are five points behind Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference standings but have four games in hand and are fancied to cut the gap here.
Looking at the 7.25 for the Maple Leafs to prevail by exactly two goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins Odds
Pittsburgh are leading the way in the Pacific Division and obviously warrant plenty of respect, but we just haven’t found their recent performances totally convincing.
The Penguins have bounced back from four straight defeats with the same number of victories.
However, Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime win at home to lowly Philadelphia continued a run of disjointed displays.
Sidney Crosby scored his 500th NHL goal against the Flyers but Pittsburgh trailed 4-2 over halfway through the third period before a late rally.
“You look back at different things over the last 17 years and that’s a memory that I’ll always hold pretty close,” Crosby said.
“With Geno (Evgeni Malkin) assisting on it, with it being at home against Philadelphia, obviously you know the history of those two teams.
“I think everything that kind of went into it, and then obviously to get the win, that changes the whole dynamic a little bit when you’re able to get it at the end.
“So, I think all those things combined just made it for a special night.”
Pittsburgh’s overall play was patchy, though, and they can’t afford to give Toronto a similar advantage.
The Maple Leafs are second in the table for first-period goals with 56, eight more than the Penguins, so 2.45 for the hosts to lead after 20 minutes completes our NHL predictions.
Seattle 2-6 TORONTO
PITTSBURGH 5-4 Philadelphia (OT)
Head-to-head: Toronto 0-2 Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh 7-1 Toronto