by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ season depends on shaking off another blown three-goal lead and breaking a long losing streak in the back end of consecutive games.
Despite a defeat that pushed them within one loss of an early elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Maple Leafs are the -130 favorite against the +110 Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Friday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets | OddsShark Matchup Report
Toronto is 1-13 in its last 14 games when it played the previous day and has not won the second leg of a back-to-back since March 20, 2019. The Blue Jackets are 7-4 this season when playing on no rest, with the total going OVER at betting sites in six of those 11 back-end matchups.
The Maple Leafs are also 0-6 in their last six games as a -125 to -150 moneyline favorite. The total went OVER in four of those matchups.
Columbus got into a position to clinch the best-of-five qualifying round series with a four-goal comeback for a 4-3 overtime win in Game 3 on Thursday. Pierre-Luc Dubois capped off the win with a hat-trick goal at 18:24 of the sudden-victory session.
The defeat on Thursday has actually served to increase the Maple Leafs’ betting value. Making good on that will likely take more production from the big four of Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares, among other things. According to naturalstattrick.com, Marner was the only one of those forwards who was on the ice for more chances-for than chances-against on Thursday, while Tavares was also the only one to earn multiple high-danger chances.
Defensively, Toronto at least has had a full game to adapt to the absence of stable veteran Jake Muzzin (head/neck). Special teams have not been a huge factor in the series, as Toronto’s power play is 1-for-8 (12.5 per cent).
Frederik Andersen, who has a 1.52 goals-against average and .948 save percentage, will be starting on no rest for only the second time all season. He stopped 27-of-29 shots in the other outing.
The comeback win on Thursday gave Columbus a 12-15 record in their last 27 playoff games as the underdog, with the total going OVER in 15 of those matchups. Repeating that effort will likely require cornerstone defensemen Seth Jones and Zach Werenski to avoid any regression after each logging 30-plus minutes on Thursday, while two-way forwards such as Dubois, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner and Alexandre Texier will have to continue stymieing Toronto and burying their chances at a high rate. The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play, with one shorthanded goal against.
Elvis Merzlikins would seem like a logical choice to start in goal after his unblemished 21-save relief effort on Thursday, which included seven high-danger saves. If Toronto wins, Game 5 will be played on Sunday.