Free Pick Breakdown & Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Golden Knights (10/24/2022) - Taking Vegas



Free Pick Breakdown & Prediction: Maple Leafs vs. Golden Knights (10/24/2022)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
October 24, 2022
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Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vegas Golden Knights (10/24 @ 10:00 PM EST)

Puck Line: Toronto -1.5 (+210)
Money Line: Maple Leafs -120 / Golden Knights +100
Total: 6.5

Overview and Betting Info

The Toronto Maple Leafs (4-2) will visit the Vegas Golden Knights (4-2) tonight in an early matchup of Stanley Cup hopefuls. Both teams come in with 4-2 records and hope to finish atop their conferences. We should see history tonight as Veteran Vegas winger Phil Kessel is set to tie Keith Yandle for the most consecutive games (988).

This will be the ninth matchup between these two franchises, with Toronto leading the overall series 6-2. Toronto is 1-4 against the puck line over their last five games, hitting the under in each. Vegas is 3-2 against the puck line over their previous five, hitting twice.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto comes to Las Vegas having won four of their last five. They’ve beaten some good teams (Winnipeg, Ottawa, Dallas, Washington), but they also suffered a bad loss to the lowly Coyotes. Coach Sheldon Keefe got on his team in the locker room and the media, and the motivation seems to have worked as the team went on to win their next two games (including a thriller against Dallas).

The offense has gotten off to a good start, thanks to the outstanding play of second-liners John Tavares and William Nylander, who lead the team with three goals. The duo’s hot start has been key to Leaf’s early success, given that Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner have yet to get going. Matthews and Marner have been helping to generate offense (11 combined assists), but each has just one goal.

Outside of their losses to Montreal and Arizona, the Maple Leaf’s defense has been superb. They’ve allowed two or fewer goals in four of their last five games and will present a tough test against a dangerous Knights offense. Morgan Rielly and Rasmus Sandin have been great on both ends of the ice, adding a combined eight assists and some stellar defense.

Ilya Samsonov is projected to get the start between the pipes and looks to move his record to 5-0 on the season. He’s been excellent starting in place of Matt Murray, saving 93% of shots and allowing just seven goals. He’ll be the player to watch as he faces an aggressive Vegas offense.

Vegas Golden Knights

Though they sit at 4-2, the Golden Knights have been inconsistent as of late. After starting with three wins, they’ve alternated wins and losses. The good news is that they lost last week to Colorado, so they’re due. The bad news is that they’ve lost to both top-level teams they’ve faced (Colorado and Calgary).

Vegas took a gamble in the offseason by bringing in Jack Eichel after a controversial season-ending neck injury last season. It’s paid off early, as he leads the team is 7 points (3 goals and 4 assists). He joins top scorer Jonathan Marchessault (5) to conduct a high-powered offense that should improve as they continue to gel. Though they’ve had some big nights, they’ve yet to unlock this offense’s full potential.

On defense, Alex Pietrangelo has been fantastic. The blueliner already has five assists and averages a whopping 24 minutes per game. He’s joined by Shea Theodore (1 goal and 2 assists) and Zach Whitecloud (two assists), who have significantly impacted both ends of the ice. They are giving up three or fewer goals in each of their last five games and will be a challenge to the Toronto attack.

The defense has been supported by Logan Thompson, who is 2-2 on the season. Despite the .500 record, he’s saving .926% of shots. He and backup Adin Hill have been solid and should help Vegas capture a top spot in the West.

Free Pick: Under 6.5

These teams are about as evenly matched as possible. They have the same record, almost identical offensive stats, and stellar defenses. It’s a tough pick until you realize the Leafs and Golden Knights have combined to hit the under in eight of their last ten games. The two overs came from the Knights against teams with questionable defenses.

If you look at their games against top teams, the score total has been five or fewer in each. These defenses are good and rested, so we expect them to put on a show Monday night. While we like Vegas to win, it’s too close of a game to call for sure. Odds for the under have been favorable across many books, so we’re taking the under in this one.