Free Pick: Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs Betting Lines & NHL Handicapping Predictions

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The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Colorado Avalanche at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. Both teams began the year 0-2, but each was able to avoid an 0-3 start. Toronto did so with a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers, while Colorado downed the Boston Bruins, 2-1.

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Colorado Avalanche (1-2-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (1-2-0)
Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Air Canada Centre
City: Toronto, Ontario
NHL Gambling O/U Odds: 5.5
NHL Gambling Money Line: Toronto -115
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For the Maple Leafs, it was their top line that really powered the team’s way to their first win. Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak combined for nine points in Sunday’s win over the Rangers, including seven points in a five-goal second period.

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As for the Avalanche, they failed to score in each of their first two games against the Minnesota Wild, and had only one goal leading into the closing seconds of Monday’s win over Boston before Daniel Briere netted the game-winner inside of the final second – it was the 300th goal of his career.

Despite winning their last game, there’s still a landmark the Leafs would rather not hit, as they’re hoping to avoid losing three in a row at home to start the season for the first time since opening their home schedule with an 0-4-2 record in 2009-10.

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The team will likely be forced to turn to Jonathan Bernier in goal despite a strong performance by James Reimer in the Big Apple. Reimer made 24 saves before being forced to exit the game in the third period after Rangers forward Dominic Moore collided with Reimer’s head while skating past the side of the net.

For the Avalanche, top goaltender Semyon Varlamov posted a 4.33 GAA in the first two games of the season before giving way to Reto Berra in Monday’s game against the Bruins. Berra stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced for the victory.

This game will have added importance to Avalanche sophomore forward Nathan MacKinnon. The 19-year-old grew up a fan of the Maple Leafs. In two meetings with Toronto last season he recorded two goals and an assist.

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Should this game come down to the power play the Leafs will have a great edge. Through the first three games of the season for both sides, the Leafs have converted on 5 of 12 opportunities with the man advantage, while the Avalanche have failed to score in 10 chances.

Free Pick: Colorado vs. Toronto Preview

Neither side’s top goaltender has done much to instill confidence entering this contest. Colorado has won four straight against Toronto, so expect an extra-motivated Leafs team to put on a good show in front of their home crowd, while the Avalanche find a way to beat Bernier a couple times as well.

The over is 7-0 in the Maple Leafs’ last seven games versus Central Division opponents, and it is 5-1 in the Avalanche’s last six games played on the second night of a back-to-back.

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