Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers - 12/17/13
Florida Panthers (12-17-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (17-14-3)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Air Canada Centre)
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs -142 / Florida Panthers +129 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The Leafs look to shake off a tough loss to the Penguins last night as they return home to host the Panthers at the ACC.
The Panthers have won three straight contests and are suddenly on their way up the Eastern Conference standings and are within striking distance of a number of teams in the Metro division and some within their own. Florida is a team that can sneak up on you and skate away with an upset victory as they have some talent on their team but for the most part they are very predictable and will be until they can add some pieces to their lineup or they wait for their young stars to mature and flourish which is what I assume management will try and do over the next few seasons. Jonathan Huberdeau leads a young core of forwards that will be dangerous in a couple years’ time but currently they are serving as the team’s crutch in terms of offensive production and they will look for another solid outing in Toronto. Tim Thomas will likely get the call for the Cats and he is so stranger to the Leafs after spending so many seasons with the Bruins who are division rivals with Toronto.
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The Maple Leafs return home after what was certainly their toughest part of the schedule to date and likely will remain that way the rest of the season as they played in Pittsburgh last night and fell 3-1. Toronto is coming off games against the Kings, Blues, Blackhawks, and now the Penguins in what is the roughest four game stretch I can remember for any team this season and while the Leafs dropped three of four they were competitive in three of them and were without some key aspects that will be back for tonight’s contest. Dion Phaneuf missed the first two of the team’s four tough outings due to a suspension but it has been great having him back in the lineup as he played well against the Blackhawks and Penguins and against a Panthers team that has a fraction of the talent that each of the Leafs’ last four opponents possess it should bode well for the blue and white defensively. Toronto is playing in a back to back which is always a tough feat especially with the stretch of games they have had but I do think they rebound in a big way at home here in a spot I would normally stay away from. Hit the Leafs hard in this spot.