Minnesota Wild (2-1-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (5-1-0)
|Date & Time||Tuesday October 15, 2013, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs -142 / Minnesota Wild +129 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Minnesota Wild head into Toronto searching for their fourth straight victory and second in as many nights while Leafs look to build off of Saturday’s overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
The Wild were unable to muster a victory in their first two outings of the season despite playing very competitive hockey, but now they have ripped off three straight wins, including a 2-1 victory on the road in Buffalo last night to give them seven points on the young season. Minnesota has a very nice balance up front and a stingy defensive unit but they’ll have to be on top of their game if they want to leave Toronto with two points. The Leafs play a very similar style to the Wild in the sense that they dictate the pace of the game from the crease out but the Leafs in my opinion have more goal scoring options and have been able to score at will this year. Josh Harding is likely to get the nod once again for Minnesota as Nik Backstrom continues to rehab from a knee injury and Jonthan Bernier will likely get the call for the blue and white.
The Maple Leafs have spectacular through their first six games posting a 5-1 mark and currently sit atop the new Atlantic division with 10 points. Bernier has seemingly won the starter’s job in Toronto despite James Reimer playing just as well in what is likely going to fabricate into a season long debate if both continue to play well. Toronto has received some clutch scoring from their newest acquisition in Dave Bolland and the likes of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul have been remarkable up front for the Buds but they’ll need to make some adjustments at the back end if they’re going to make a deep playoff run. Jake Gardiner continues to be the subject of trade rumours and Paul Ranger has looked sloppy in his renaissance this season but perhaps those are just growing pains from being out of the league for so long. While the Buds are a pretty heavy favourite in this spot I like them once again to notch a home ice victory as they catch the Wild in a back to back situation after a hard fought win in Buffalo last night which surely took its toll heading into this one. Take Toronto at home to keep rolling but be cautious about puck line and regulation plays.