During their recent hot streak, the Maple Leafs have defeated Detroit (three times), Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
However, in a way, Thursday in Carolina might be their toughest game during this 10-1-1 stretch. Toronto is a -135 road favourite over the Hurricanes at Pinnacle Sports.
Coming off Tuesday’s 6-2 rout of the Ducks, Toronto’s feeling pretty good about itself. Now it visits the lowly Hurricanes. It’s pretty difficult to motivate yourself to play the team with the fewest points in the NHL, right after facing the team with the most.
The Leafs have already shown a tendency this season to let up against lesser opponents. They lost in Arizona after a win over the Blackhawks; they fell 6-2 in Buffalo after games against the Penguins and Bruins; and their only regulation loss in their last 12 games came to the Devils.
-135 odds suggests the Leafs’ probability of winning tonight is 57.4%. That might seem low enough to make you bite.
It is interesting to note, however, that the NHL betting lines on this game opened with the Leafs as -150 favourites. Early money came in on Carolina, driving the line down. The early money typically knows what it’s doing.
We’re just not sure it will be as easy as it looks.