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Maple Leafs or Panthers in Atlantic Division Clash?
Updated March 23, 2023
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers – 2022-23 NHL Regular Season
When: Thursday, March 23rd
Where: FLA Live Arena
Thursday evening brings a must-watch matchup in the Atlantic Division as the Toronto Maple Leaf’s head south to face the surging Florida Panthers. The puck drops at 7 PM ET at FLA Live Arena. Toronto is coming off a deflating loss to the New York Islanders and will be looking for a bounce-back performance here. As for Florida, they also lost last time out by a score of 6-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Keep reading to find the Maple Leafs vs Panthers odds.
Before diving into the NHL picks, check out our top hockey betting sites and the Vegas odds for the NHL in the 2022-23 season.
As you can see, there is no clear favorite. The Leafs have -102 moneyline odds at BetOnline, while the Panthers sit at -108. While Toronto did win the most recent meeting against their divisional foes, Florida grabbed back-to-back victories before that. Three of the previous four matchups comfortably hit the over in goals, set at seven on Thursday.
Toronto vs Florida Preview
The Maple Leafs are still a force to be reckoned with the second-best record in the Atlantic, but they’re not playing great hockey at the moment. Toronto is just 5-4-1 in their last ten outings, with the injury bug biting them. Trade deadline addition Ryan O’Reilly is still out with a finger injury, while Bobby McCann also suffered a knee injury. To make matters worse, No. 1 goaltender Ilya Samsonov left the team for the remainder of this road trip for personal reasons. That means Matt Murray will get the start in Florida. This next stretch will be a very stern test for Sheldon Keefe’s group, who not only face Panthers twice in six days but also clash with the high-flying Carolina Hurricanes. You better believe the Leafs will be coming into Thursday’s game with a fire in their bellies after the Matthew Barzal-less Islanders embarrassed them. While Toronto took an early lead in the first period, they collapsed in the second, conceding three times before allowing another four in the third. The Leafs are one of the better defensive teams in the league; therefore, Tuesday’s showing was very surprising. The blue line is set to have their hands full, though with a Florida roster that can really score the puck.
The Panthers are making a playoff push and as it stands, would be tasked with a first-round matchup against the Boston Bruins. Daunting to say the least, but Florida is making their presence felt lately. With Matthew Tkachuk leading the way, the Panthers rank fifth in the NHL with 3.49 goals per contest and sit first in shots on goal with 37. This squad is a serious threat on the front foot. Tkachuk is having a monster first year down in Florida, scoring 34 goals and tallying 62 assists. He’s also on an absolute tear over the last 10 days, scoring six goals and supplying six assists in his last five appearances. Expect Tkachuk to play an integral part against the Leafs. Carter Verhaeghe has also netted 36 times and set up another 28. Just like Toronto, the Panthers will have a point to prove Thursday following a brutal defeat to the lowly Flyers. This Toronto clash marks the beginning of a quick two-game homestand, which is good news. They’re 21-10-4 on home ice.
Maple Leafs vs Panthers Prediction
This is a tough pick. Other than the loss on Tuesday, the Panthers were hot, though, and tend to thrive in front of their home fans. I like the Florida moneyline.