The Florida Panthers have failed to inspire confidence for most of the 2018/19 campaign and it is hard to envision a change in fortunes ahead of this clash. Florida are rooted to the foot of the Atlantic Division table having won 11 of their 30 National Hockey League fixtures this season. Only a fool would back against the Toronto Maple Leafs taking both sets of form into account.
Especially when you consider Toronto’s incredible run of results AND the strength in depth that the Maple Leafs possess. Mike Babcock’s side have lost just one of their last 10 regular season games and plenty of punters will fancy Toronto to add another win to their record in this encounter. Pipping the Tampa Bay Lightning to top spot in the division isn’t going to be easy but if anyone can do it, the Maple Leafs can.
This meeting has been quite evenly matched in recent times. Both teams have won three of the last six encounters and that makes predicting a winner difficult. However, recent form suggests that backing Toronto is the way to go. The Maple Leafs are as short as 11/1 with 888sport to go on and win the Stanley Cup crown this season and a win here will cement their status as serious contenders.
Consistency Key To Toronto’s Stanley Cup Hopes
The Maple Leafs are well fancied to compete for ice hockey’s ultimate prize this year and the emergence of Mitchell Marner will only boost their chances. John Tavares and Auston Matthews are well-known superstars in the National Hockey League but Marner has really made a name for himself this year.
With 41 points already recorded, Marner has been a breath of fresh air. Matthews will come into his own in the postseason and Tavares will continue to contribute on a weekly basis but the Maple Leafs will need everyone to chip in. Don’t write the Canadian outfit off just yet, the blueprint for long term Stanley Cup success is already in place and they will take some stopping in the playoffs.
Maintaining their current form will be key to Toronto’s aspirations this year. Right now, you would be hard pressed to name three teams playing at a higher level than the Maple Leafs – which is testament to the work of Babcock and co. This could be their year to claim another Stanley Cup scalp.
Another Year Of Woe For The Panthers?
Florida have little to play for this year after a troubling start to the campaign – even the most passionate Panthers fan knows that making the playoffs is a bit of a stretch this year. Scoring goals has been an issue; 97 through 30 regular season games is an average ratio at best.
The Panthers have won just three of their last 10 games and punters will be looking only at the Maple Leafs for a huge victory. Florida will be determined to defy their Atlantic rivals but backing against Toronto would be foolish. The Canadian side are strong favourites for the win.
Toronto are heading in the right direction and this could be a memorable year for the Maple Leafs organisation. Mike Babcock is one of the most experienced head coaches in the NHL and he can give the Maple Leafs an edge in the coming months. This weekend though, talent alone should be enough to see Toronto emerge victorious.
TIP: Toronto Maple Leafs to win
CORRECT SCORE: Florida Panthers 2-5 Toronto Maple Leafs