The 2018/19 National Hockey League season is well and truly underway – and the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the leading contenders to win the Stanley Cup this year.
With former New York Islanders star John Tavares making the move north of the border, the Maple Leafs are primed to go close in their pursuit of glory; especially with Auston Matthews back to full fitness.
Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals head into the campaign as Stanley Cup champions and that in itself will bring added pressure.
Alexander Ovechkin finally got his hands on hockey’s ultimate prize after years of near-misses and Washington will now attempt to defend their crown. With two wins from their first four games of the season, they’ve got off to a solid enough start.
Toronto are currently leading the way in the Atlantic Division, winning four of their first five league games.
Beating the Capitals in Washington would be some statement of intent from the Maple Leafs and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Canadian outfit push hard for victory in Saturday’s encounter.
High Scoring Encounter Expected?
It is early days but Mike Babcock’s side are looking the part as they look to secure a 14th Stanley Cup triumph. The Maple Leafs have scored 25 goals in their five matches so far this season – averaging five goals per game.
At that rate, Toronto could break records for the best offensive unit in the Stanley Cup era. Watch this space, Tavares and Matthews will take some stopping…
With 18 goals in their games, the Capitals are also scoring for fun and that should make for an entertaining contest this weekend.
Washington are still flying high on that Stanley Cup success last season and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Capitals pip Toronto to a vital win here. Picking a winner in such a close encounter is tricky but home advantage may swing it in the favour of Washington.
Taking the two respective records into account, punters should consider backing the ‘over’ line when it comes to goals this weekend.
The Maple Leafs have conceded 20 goals in their five games whilst Washington have allowed 15 – yet another positive indicator for bettors who fancy a high-scoring affair. These two sides could end up competing in the Eastern Conference playoffs later in the campaign if everything goes to plan.
No Stanley Cup Hangover For Capitals?
Some teams struggle to cope with the pressure of competing as defending Stanley Cup champions but Washington have looked strong so far this year.
Of course, we are only a few games into the 2018/19 season but the Capitals have all of the tools to reach the latter stages of the playoffs once again. As long as their main men stay healthy, Washington will always be in with a chance of victory.
The Maple Leafs will be looking to put a dent in Washington’s plans this weekend; Toronto could remind hockey fans of their own Stanley Cup aspirations…
This one could go either way but we are going to side with the visitors. Toronto have been solid throughout the early stages of the season and Babcock will want to send out a clear statement of intent by defeating Washington this weekend.
It won’t be straightforward by any means but Tavares and Matthews could lead the Maple Leafs to a narrow victory at Capital One Arena. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see both players notch a point on Saturday night.
CORRECT SCORE: Washington Capitals 3-4 Toronto Maple Leafs (AOT)