Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs line, total, prediction: Plenty of goals

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The Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs jump right back into action after the All-Star break with a Monday meeting in Toronto. Both teams have been among the best in the East this season, though they’re built in different ways.

The Leafs are top-heavy, featuring some of the most high-end skill in the league. The Canes are balanced with depth throughout all 20 spots on the roster, which means they can often handle the league’s better teams. Over the past three seasons they’re 17-10 against teams with a winning percentage over 65 percent, good for a 19.7 percent ROI and 5.3 units.

NHL
The Toronto Maple Leafs face the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
USA TODAY Sports

While I always like backing the Hurricanes, I’m targeting a total in this game for a few reasons. These teams rank second and third in expected goals per 60 minutes in the NHL, Toronto has the league’s best power play and Carolina isn’t far behind, but the Canes’ defense was trending in the wrong direction entering the All-Star break. Their 10-game moving average for expected goals against hovered around a pedestrian 2.3 per 60 minutes in the last few weeks of January after it was around 1.95 for much of November and December.

It is also possible we see one or both backup goalies in this game, as both Carolina’s Frederik Andersen and Toronto’s Jack Campbell were in Vegas for the All-Star festivities, and the Canes play again on Tuesday.

Overs are 15-14-1 over the past three seasons when both teams haven’t played in at least six days, so don’t be scared off by rust/long layoffs.

Some of the sharper sportsbooks in the world have the first period Over 1.5 goals at -150 or higher, but you could still find -135 as of Sunday night. With offenses this explosive, we’re seeing first period Overs around -160 or -170 closer to game time. I’ll take the -135, and also like the full game total Over 6.

Pick: First period Over 1.5 goals (-135 at BetMGM)

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