The lone all-Canadian matchup around the NHL on Monday features the Calgary Flames visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs, who lead the league with 30 points. A big reason for that has been the play of superstar Auston Matthews and if he scores the first goal of Monday's game, he would make NHL history. Toronto opened as a -170 favorite on the William Hill Sportsbook NHL odds.
Matthews, who leads the league by a mile with 18 goals, has become the 12th player in NHL history to open the scoring in four straight team games, regular season or playoffs. No player has ever done that five consecutive games. The last player to hit four in a row was Washington's Andre Burakovsky in January 2017. The first guy to do it was Montreal's Billy Boucher in 1923.
The red-hot Matthews (18 goals, 11 assists) has at least a point in 16 straight games (two shy of team record), although the NHL only counts it as a 13-game run because he missed one. In Saturday's 5-3 win at Montreal, the Leafs' third straight victory, he had two goals and two assists. The American reached the 300-career goal mark and his 175 career goals are the third-most by a player through 300 games with the Leafs. Charlie Conacher holds the team record of 191 goals through 300 games.
Matthews' 314 points through 300 games are a team record. Syl Apps had 313. The lone game this season where Matthews played and didn't have a point was a 5-3 loss at Ottawa on Jan. 15.
Toronto swept a two-game series at Calgary from Jan. 24-26. Matthews totaled two goals and an assist. Defenseman Morgan Rielly had five assists. The Leafs lead the league in scoring at 3.79 goals per game.
Calgary, on a three-game skid, is 23rd at just 2.56 goals per game. The Flames have played their past two without center Sean Monahan due to a lower-body injury (they never say what it really is in the NHL), and he's questionable Monday. Monahan has two goals and 10 assists.
It should be Frederik Andersen in net for Toronto and Jacob Markstrom for Calgary, although Markstrom was awful Saturday in allowing five goals on 10 shots and being pulled in a 7-1 loss to Edmonton.
I recommend Toronto in this matchup. It has won 10 of its past 13 as a favorite, while Calgary is 1-8 in its past nine as an underdog.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is also up more than $8,400 on top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it enters Week 9 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 83-48 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen HUGE returns.