Kent Tukeli | Sat 21/04/2018 - 11:46 EDT

Bruins vs Maple Leafs: Toronto Faces Win Or Golf Scenario

Bruins vs Maple Leafs: Toronto Faces Win Or Golf Scenario
There's no more breathing room for the Toronto Maple Leafs, facing elimination against the Boston Bruins in game five on Saturday night. Game four was a stark, disappointing loss for the Leafs, who outplayed the Bruins for the first time in this first round series. Boston will be considered strong favorites to clinch at the TD Gardens on April 21st, with face-off dropping at 8:00 PM EST.

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Game 5 Odds

My Team's Next MatchToronto Maple Leafs

NHL odds and lines courtesy of Sports Interaction

Moneyline: Toronto (+165) :: Boston (-195)

Despite the return of Nazem Kadri, the moneyline for the Bruins stands at an expensive -195, signifying Boston as a strong favorite. Toronto’s solid game four performance turned into a letdown, with the Bruins jumping on a pair of ill-advised pinches to steal a victory. Defensive cohesion and consistency were the Toronto Maple Leafs main issue during the regular season, a problem repeated throughout this first round series. These moneylines will likely shift when the status of Patrice Bergeron becomes clear closer to game time.

Puckline: Toronto +1.5 (-165) :: Boston -1.5 (+140)

The Bruins puckline has shifted over the past 24 hours, moving from +145 to +140 overnight, increasing the expense of wagering on a two-goal, series-clinching victory for Boston on Saturday. Toronto’s performance at the TD Garden resulted in a pair of lopsided wins for the Bruins, even with Kadri in the lineup for game one. Part of the reason the puckline will be attractive this evening revolves around Freddie Andersen, who’s had a tough series with a 4.12 GAA and a .880 SV%.

Over/Under: Over 5.5 (-120) :: Under 5.5 (+100)

Game four was a tight, low-scoring affair, creating the first under result in the series. Most games have had a total of 6.0, which makes tonight’s 5.5 over/under a relatively low total. Accordingly, the line for the over is considered a moderate favorite at -120, while the under features a line of +100. Boston’s scored buckets of goals at home, and a quick start to game five could create a scenario where the Bruins singlehandedly push the total to over with another blowout win.

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Betting Trends

After a disheartening game four loss, attention has shifted to Frederik Andersen because of terrible stats and a couple of soft goals over the past two games. Tuukka Rask outplayed Andersen in game three, lifting his stats to a 2.27 GAA and .926 SV% over four games. Comparatively, Freddie struggles with a 4.12 GAA and .880 SV%. Frankly, the Leafs defense hasn’t played well enough to lay blame on their goaltender for their previous loss. Boston’s pair of two-on-one goals were the result of pinching at the Bruins blueline.

  • Tuukka Rask has a 2.27 GAA and .926 SV% in four games.
  • Frederik Andersen’s struggled with a 4.12 GAA and a .880 SV%.
  • Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision on Saturday night.
  • Nazem Kadri returns from a three-game suspension.
  • Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Zach Hyman have two goals in four games.

There’s a chance that Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott decide not to pinch if the top line of the Leafs were able to convert on solid scoring chances and favorable matchups. Matthews, Nylander and Hyman should have been able to exert their will in game four without Selke finalist Patrice Bergeron – especially with home ice matchup advantage. Instead, Mitch Marner and a pair of forwards in their mid-30s were the only source of inspiration for Toronto’s suddenly-weak attack.

A lot must go right for the Leafs to emerge with a win this evening. Andersen can’t be outplayed by Rask. The Matthews line has to wake up and challenge the dominance of Boston’s top line. Toronto’s defense can’t continue to make the same blunders against a deep, opportunistic Bruins offense. If these issues aren’t rectified immediately, the return of Nazem Kadri won’t make much of a difference in the end result.

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Game 5 Prediction

Before this series started, it appeared that Toronto’s first round matchup against the Bruins in the 2018 NHL playoffs was more problematic than last year’s meeting against the Washington Capitals. The first two games confirmed this scenario, as the Bruins ran away with 5-1 and 7-3 victories. Match three was dominated by Boston despite the Leafs win, while the fourth meeting of the series was under the Leafs command despite the Bruins victory. The latter loss left Toronto without wind in their sails, facing a mountainous 3-1 series deficit.

Sure, Andersen might go nuts in TD Garden and stonewall the Bruins to drag the game back to the Air Canada Centre, but the Maple Leafs won’t be able to escape their own shadow in the long run. There’s no chance of Toronto pulling off a miraculous run unless their self-destructive defensive tendencies cease. Even if the Leafs manage to pull a complete 180, Boston’s simply a deeper, more experienced team, able to withstand Toronto’s best.

Toronto’s young stars still need another year or two to grow into serious contenders, especially considering their defensive problems. The Bruins have been confident and locked in all series long, focused on parleying an excellent regular season into a long playoff push. There’s little doubt that the Leafs will fly out of the gates, but Boston will likely withstand Toronto’s attack while employing their devastating counter-attack. Expect a two-goal victory for the Bruins as they extend their playoff series winning streak to 59 years over the Leafs.

Boston Beats Puckline Against Toronto (-1.5, +140)

Category : Picks and Parlays

Tag : Boston Bruins , hockey , NHL Picks , playoffs , toronto maple leafs

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