Toronto Maple Leafs (16-12-3) at St. Louis Blues (20-6-3)
|Date & Time||Thursday December 12, 2013, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: St. Louis Blues -221 / Toronto Maple Leafs +200 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Maple Leafs takes to the road after a heartbreaker at home against the Kings last night and things don’t get any easier as they travel to St. Louis tonight.
Toronto is in the midst of an ugly slide that is soon to be broadcasted to an international audience as they’ll be one half of the HBO documentary series 24/7 as they get ready for the Winter Classic. The Buds have lost 7 of their last 10 contests and have slipped into 5th place in the Atlantic division as a result of their recent futility and are quickly falling behind the division leading Bruins. Toronto has been hampered by injuries all season long as well as by the arm of the law as Nazem Kadri has served a suspension and now captain Dion Phaneuf will miss his second straight game because of a two game ban as well. Being without their leader and defensive presence is a huge loss for the Leafs despite playing quite well at times against the Kings but travelling on the road against a very good Blues team might be too tough to overcome.
The Blues continue to be one of the best teams in the NHL as they have a 20-6-3 record heading into their bout with the Maple Leafs tonight and with five games in hand on the Conference and League leading Blackhawks there is plenty of space for the Blues to move up. St. Louis has one of the best defensive systems in the game and are the third best overall defensive unit in the league trailing only the Bruins and Kings who play a very similar system to the Blues. Alex Pietrangelo is someone who many expect to be in the Norris Trophy race for the next decade as he is the best young blue liner in the game and plays well above his years at the back end which is brilliant news for St. Louis and head coach Ken Hitchcock. While this seems like an afterthought as the Blues are playing very well and the Leafs are in shambles I don’t see this one being a blow out. I like a tighter contest and I think this one stays under the total.