NHL Playoff Odds & Preview — Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs
There has apparently not been anything the Toronto Maple Leafs have been able to do to stave off the oncoming power of the Boston Bruins. That is not an exaggeration; the Bruins succeeded in chasing one of the better goaltenders in the NHL after just twelve minutes of action a couple of nights ago. Obviously it has been a matter of taking a look at what has gone wrong and correcting it, but is that totally possible with only one day in between games for coach Mike Babcock? We’ll see what happens as these teams meet on Monday night at 7:05 PM ET at the Air Canada Centre. BetAnySports customers truly get a lot of thrills as they can place wagers after the opening whistle, through the technology of Live Betting Ultra.
Boston really had three power play going in Game 1 on Thursday, as they tallied three power play goals in a 5-1 victory. Naturally the Bruins got a nice effort out of goalie Tukkan Rusk, but it was the inability of the Leafs to play defense that was its undoing. This was not a secret at all coming into the post-season. Frederik Andersen has faced more shots than any other netminder in the league, and the “kill” unit, which was successful 81.4% of the time, has failed. From one perspective, it has been Boston imposing itself physically, and there has been a breakdown for defensemen Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly and Nkita Zaitsev.
The biggest headache has been created by the Bruins’ first line, and perhaps that was something people expected. All three members of that group – Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron – scored at least 30 goals in the regular season, and they have simply run wild in the first two games of this series, as they have scored 20 points (combined goals and assists), leading Bruce Cassidy’s team to a 2-0 advantage.
The Bruins are now -800 to win the series, with Toronto at +550. In the odds at BetAnySports for Game 3, the money line has it even:
PUCK LINE: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+265) / Bruins +1.5 (-325)
MONEY LINE: Bruins -110 / Maple Leafs -110
TOTAL: Over 5.5 (-120) / Under 5.5 (+100)
The biggest star for the Bruins thus far is Pastrnak, the flamboyant winger from Czechoslovakia who has nine points, including a hat trick in Game 2. His linemates, Marchand and Bergeron, had four assists apiece on Saturday. On the last goal, Pastrnak didn’t even get all of the puck, so to speak, but he was able to backhand one past Curtis McIlhinney as it trickled in. And nobody was really there to check him. Why McIlhinney, you may ask? Well, because by that time, Andersen was long gone, having been lifted twelve minutes into the game. Of course, when it’s 4-0 at the end of the third period, it is pretty much over, period, so to speak, because Boston was fourth best in the NHL in terms of goals allowed.
It has been a disappointment that Auston Matthews, the budding superstar for the Leafs who scored 33 goals in just 62 games, has not had a goal or an assist so far. And his line, which included William Nylander and Leo Komarov, has been impotent as a whole. Babcock was making changes and looking for different combinations that might somehow work. Mitch Marner got a goal while part of one of those new combos. And at “press time,” it was not known whether Komarov, who suffered a knee injury on Saturday, would be available.
There is no question about the availability of Nazem Kadri, who will be serving out a suspension through Game 4, after he cheap-shotted Tommy Wingels of the Bruins against the boards in the series opener. This is a double blow for the Leafs, as he is truly a standout defensively, as well as someone who scored 32 goals AND is Toronto’s most prolific scorer on the power play. Andersen will be back in goal, trying to regain his confidence, and the Maple Leafs won 29 of 41 home games this season. From where we sit, that does not necessarily solve their defensive problems, and the Bruins have enough depth to make up for any slip-ups on the part of the first line. So we’re with the visitor here.
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