The Arizona Coyotes have shown glimpses of improvement in 2018/19 but a fifth year in a row with no playoff hockey beckons after another inconsistent campaign.
With 25 regular season games remaining, time is running out for the Coyotes to put a run of form together. If nothing else, topping last year’s tally of 29 wins is an absolute must for Arizona.
The Coyotes have won four of their last 10 games – and that has been the tale of their entire season. Arizona have failed to build momentum and it is now ‘do or die’ time in the Stanley Cup race.
At the other end of the spectrum, Toronto are one of the leading candidates to win hockey’s showpiece series this year. Write the Maple Leafs off at your peril.
Mike Babcock’s side are 15 points adrift of Atlantic rivals Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for divisional supremacy but Toronto fans will be quietly confident of reversing that form in the playoffs.
With 36 wins so far this season, the Maple Leafs are the second best team in the National Hockey League. 888sport are offering 10/1 for Toronto to lift the Stanley Cup title this year – plenty of punters will fancy the Maple Leafs to go close.
In a bizarre turn of events, the road team has won seven of the last eight meetings involving these two sides. That bodes well for the Maple Leafs; Toronto are looking to secure a third win in a row this weekend.
Coyotes Destined For Another Miserable Conference Finish
Arizona have finished 10th or lower in each of the last four years and another poor showing looks likely this time around. As of February 15th, the Coyotes are ranked as the 12th best team in the Western Conference.
With that in mind, punters may wish to steer clear of the 200/1 available with 10Bet for a miraculous Stanley Cup success. Arizona look destined to plummet once again in the coming weeks and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see changes in the offseason.
The Coyotes have lost three of their last four matches on home ice and the Gila River Arena faithful are frustrated at Arizona’s lack of progress. A positive showing in the NHL Draft is key ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
Maple Leafs Mean Business
Toronto are going to be there or thereabouts come the business end of the campaign. If the Maple Leafs can keep Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Mitchell Marner fit, they will take some stopping in their pursuit of Stanley Cup glory.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see bookmakers open with the Maple Leafs as short priced favourites to emerge victorious in this clash. Arizona have been solid enough in this fixture in recent times but Toronto are on an upward trajectory right now.
This is one of those games that Toronto SHOULD win but the Maple Leafs cannot take their opponents for granted. Settling the nerves early on could be key here and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Babcock’s men put in a professional performance this weekend.
Only two teams have scored fewer goals than Arizona (150) this year and that statistic may be enough to tempt punters to side with the visitors. Toronto, on the other hand, have already topped the 200 goals mark this season.
It is hard to look past the visitors here. The Maple Leafs are in better form, have a stronger squad and are built to go far this year. Arizona may put up a fight early on but expect the visitors to pull away once they take the lead.
TIP: Toronto Maple Leafs to win
CORRECT SCORE: Arizona Coyotes 1-4 Toronto Maple Leafs