NHL: Preview and picks for tonight’s Leafs vs Coyotes, Jets vs Stars Games

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Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Leafs Look to Rebound

The Maple Leafs (33-17-8-74, 3rd in the Atlantic Division) have an opportunity to get back into the win column at home against the lowly Arizona Coyotes (23-30-5-51, 7th in the Central Division), and the Winnipeg Jets (37-15-5-79, 1st in the Central Division) have an opportunity to push the conversation away from low attendance at home and franchise transfer with a road set-to against the Dallas Stars (35-17-9-79, 2nd in the Central Division). 

NHL Schedule: Game Details

 DateTimeLocationHow to Watch
Leafs vs. CoyotesFeb. 29, 20247:00 p.m. ESTScotiabank Arena, Toronto, ONTV: Sportsnet Ontario; Radio: TSN 1050
Jets vs. StarsFeb. 29, 20248:00 p.m. ESTAmerican Airlines Center, Dallas, TXSportsnet+ Premium

Game 1: Leafs vs. Coyotes Insights

The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off a 6-2 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday night, a frustrating evening that saw head coach Sheldon Keefe tossed for verbally berating the referee. 

Yes, the Leafs hold down that third spot in the Atlantic with 74 points, and they would be in if the playoffs started tomorrow. But the Detroit Red Wings are at 72 points (the Leafs have one game in hand), right behind them. If the Wings overtake them in the Atlantic the Leafs drop down to being a wildcard team. Right now, their focus needs to be on somehow catching the Florida Panthers or the Boston Bruins, both at 82 points this morning. 

🏒 Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Coyotes at DraftKings 🏒

With the trade last night of D Chris Tanev from the Calgary Flames to the Dallas Stars, one of the rumoured names the Leafs were interested in is now off the board. Where they go from here, with the March 8 trade deadline fast approaching, is the big question. Noah Hanifin? Colton Parayko? Matt Dumba? Plenty of speculation for a team clearly looking at beefing up its blueline for the playoffs.

D Conor Timmins continues to be out with an illness, as is C Calle Jarnkrok (knuckle). D Timothy Liljegren is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

The Coyotes are jockeying for draft position and have a putrid 8-16-5 road record. They’re on a 13-game losing streak, and over the past ten games have been averaging 2.5 goals, while giving up 4.2 goals per game, according to Associated Press. RW Clayton Keller, the team’s leading scorer (22 goals and 30 assists) is day-to-day with an upper body issue.

Player Props

If you’re into online betting, according to 888 Sport, not surprisingly, Auston Matthews is the most popular player on the prop side. Odds are 1.75 on Matthews scoring over 0.5 goals, 2.20 on ending up with over 1.5 points.

According to BetMGM, most bet player props are Matthews To Score 2 Goals (5.75), Matthews To Score a Goal (1.77), Matthews to Score 3 Goals (21.0).

Game 2: Jets vs. Stars Insights

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Winnipeg a few days ago and in a news conference told the world the Jets, who have seen a dip in home attendance, weren’t going anywhere. 

That helped clear up some consternation and put down speculation on the local front, that the Jets at some point soon would be a candidate for a transfer to another city. The Jets owner Mark Chipman had made some earlier comments about how it was essential for the future of the franchise that the attendance figures get back up.

The players are certainly doing their part on the ice. The Jets have been a powerhouse all season, and head into Dallas to play another powerhouse, the Stars, tied with the Jets for the lead in the Central Division. This is the game of the night, a battle of heavyweights. 

🏒 Bet on Jets vs. Stars at FanDuel 🏒

Not a surprise - Connor Hellebuyck (28-11-3, three shutouts, 2.21 GAA, .925 SV%) is listed as probable to start in goal tonight for the Jets. The Stars will send out their stud – Jake Oettinger (21-10-4, one shutout, 2.98 GAA, .901 SV%).

For the Stars, according to ESPN, D Nils Lundkvist is day-to-day, as is C Tyler Seguin (lower body), while RW Evgenii Dadonov (lower body) and D Jerad Rosburg are out. No injuries to report with the Jets this morning. Will Tanev, who ranks second in the NHL in blocked shots, be in the lineup tonight for the Stars? That’s something to follow today.

Player Props

On the NHL sports betting front, at 888 Sport, Kyle Connor is the most popular player on the prop betting front (2.50 to score over 0.5 goals, for example, and 1.95 to have over 0.5 assists).

And according to BetMGM, most bet player props are Logan Stankoven To Score a Goal (5.25), Connor To Score a Goal (2.70) and Josh Morrissey Over 0.5 Points (1.80).

Our NHL Picks Today 

Huge edge in money bets on the Leafs at BetMGM – 91 per cent. Ninety per cent of bettors have the Leafs ATS. 888 Sport reports all the Moneyline is on the Leafs, with a large bet on the Over. The Leafs are No. 1 in the NHL in power play – 29.1% success rate – and are tops in the league in goals for per game (3.66). The Coyotes are 21st in the NHL in penalty killing at 78%.

Look, the Leafs tend to play down to their competition, and that’s always the concern. We also thought G Ilya Samsonov was a little leaky in that loss the other night to the Golden Knights. We don’t have the starters in goal yet, but we sense this is an ideal game to get Joseph Woll back in there and get him some playing time.

However, a spread at -1.5? Matthews, with a league-leading 52 goals, is playing his hometown team and looked frustrated in being shut down by the Golden Knights the other night. He should bust out in this game. 

The Leafs have averaged 4.8 goals in their last ten, going 8-2-0, according to Associated Press. Take the Over 6.5 at NorthStar Bets

In the later game, the Jets have won four in a row, the Stars have dropped two straight. This is going to be a low-scoring affair, with those two all-star caliber goalies. Take the Under 5.5 at theScore Bet, but we are also leaning Jets ATS, at +1.5 (1.40).

NorthStar BetsLeafs 1.38, Coyotes 3.10Leafs -1.5 (1.93), Coyotes +1.5 (1.88)6.5; Over 1.91; Under 1.91
theScore BetJets 2.15, Stars 1.74Jets +1.5 (1.40), Stars -1.5 (2.85)5.5; Over 1.80; Under 2.05

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Mark Keast

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