NHL Betting Preview (April 24): Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

Don’t look now, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have shifted from “mess” to “slight favourites” in this playoff series. Finding a way to grab a win on the road on Monday, the series shifts to Toronto with the Buds now hosting three of the next five games, and with their lengthy slump against the Boston Bruins now snapped. Can they carry the momentum into their own building? Let’s look at what’s at stake Wednesday night.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Bruins GM 3

BOS -105
TOR -102

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The Maple Leafs are slight favourites, coming in between -102 and -115 on the moneyline.

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Best Odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-102 @ Betano
Bruins Moneyline Odds-102 @ FanDuel
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+234) @ Pinnacle
Bruins +1.5 (-244) @ Proline+
Series oddsMaple Leafs -110, Bruins -110 (bet365)
Total Over 5.5 goals (-125) @ Betano
Under 6.0 goals (-113) @ Pinnacle
Time/DateApril 24, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports (French)
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

Last Matchup

For a little bit, this game looked like it would be Boston’s once more. The Bruins struck first following a Jake McCabe penalty midway through the opening period, and while Toronto was able to equalize quickly, it was a late-period goal from David Pastrnak that really left everyone in doubt. A comedy of errors forced both a defensive zone faceoff, and a lot of wide open space for Boston’s superstar to bury his first of the series with seconds to go in the first period.

Toronto didn’t give up, though. After a disallowed goal didn’t give the Leafs the equalizer they hoped, John Tavares buried one that would count seconds later to tie the game. In the mid-third period, a Max Domi outlet pass set Auston Matthews up for a breakaway, which he made no mistake in converting. Toronto had a tough time defending the lead, needing to withstand a penalty kill and a barrage in the final minutes, but they eventually got across the finish line.

Betting Toronto Maple Leafs (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 o/u)

While it still wasn’t a night fully up to the team’s potential, the Maple Leafs made significant strides toward being their best selves.

For starters, this was the Auston Matthews night that many of us were waiting for, perhaps his best-ever playoff game. History will remember his gorgeous game-winning goal, but he also added two primary assists, eight shots on goal, four other shot attempts, six assists, a 70% success rate at the faceoff dot, great underlying shot shares, and made a game-saving defensive play to jam a loose puck under Ilya Samsonov in the dying minutes. The Leafs will need their best to be at their best to succeed, and Matthews lived up to that.

Some of the players who struggled in Game 1 also had better Game 2s. Max Domi is a player who sticks out in this regard. On top of getting the first goal and setting up Matthews’ winner, Domi seemed much more relaxed and focused in this one, focusing more on contributing to the play than trying to get under the Bruins’ skin. It allowed him to be effective at his strengths and is hopefully the version of Domi we’ll see more of down the stretch here.

Ilya Samsonov was noticeably better as well. He wasn’t completely without fault, with his decision-making proving to be a precursor to the second goal, but he made key saves and found himself better set for most of Boston’s 29 shots.

There are still some holes in Toronto’s game. Puck movement out of the defensive zone is still a sore spot, as is penalty discipline, and both William Nylander’s mystery injury and Mitch Marner’s early struggles have the Leafs lacking game-breaking depth. But the team has shifted from dead in the water to being in a good spot in a hurry, and that’s a good sign. The win was deserved and hope for more has been restored.

Betting Boston Bruins (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 o/u)

On the other side, Boston wasn’t outright bad, but they didn’t quite have in them what separated them from their opponents in Game 1.

For one, they weren’t able to take advantage of their power play to the same extent. While Toronto still found ways to burn themselves with poor decisions on a couple of occasions, the calls were fewer in this game, and the Bruins were only able to get on the man advantage twice, succeeding once.

There was a lot of questioning of the Bruins’ choice to keep trusting their goaltending rotation, swapping Jeremy Swayman out for Linus Ullmark. It’s hard to go wrong with either netminder given their performances for the team across the last two years, and Boston was criticized for not rotating enough during their playoff run last season, but going straight to the pivot in Game 2 after a spectacular Game 1 performance from Swayman was surprising. Some might point to the decision as part of the reason Boston lost, but I’d be hard-pressed to agree – Ullmark was fantastic and while he couldn’t steal his team the win, his 31-save performance was about what you could reasonably expect from him.

Another move Boston made was breaking up their super-pair of McAvoy and Lindholm for a little while, particularly after an injury came in the bottom of the lineup. McAvoy seemed fairly unphased, but it wasn’t Lindholm’s best night, posting a clear disadvantage in on-ice scoring chances and expected goals, largely built up when paired with Brandon Carlo. I’m curious to see where Boston goes with their pairs tonight, with that considered.

Projected Bruins and Leafs Lines

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Boston Bruins Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Max Domi
Matthew Knies – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Calle Jarnkrok – Pontus Holmberg – ?????
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves

Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Joel Edmundson – Timothy Liljegren

Starting In Goal
Ilya Samsonov
PO: 1-1-0, 3.03 GAA, 0.887 SV%
Season: 23-7-8, 3.13 GAA, 0.890 SV%
Danton Heinen – Pavel Zacha – David Pastrnak
Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – Jake Debrusk
James Van Riemsdyk – Morgan Geekie – Trent Frederic
John Beecher – Jesper Boqvist – Pat Maroon

Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Mason Lohrei – Brandon Carlo
Parker Wotherspoon – Kevin Shattenkirk

Starting In Goal
Jeremy Swayman
PO: 1-0-0, 1.01 GAA, 0.972 SV%
RS: 25-10-8, 2.53 GAA, 0.916 SV%

Once again, there’s a chaotic energy surrounding William Nylander’s status. He fully participated in Wednesday’s optional morning skate, which was a positive sign for his return. Auston Matthews, who elected to forego the optional skate but will play tonight, was place-filled by Nick Robertson, who is the expected scratch if Nylander returns. However, Nylander also stayed late after the skate, which usually implies that the player won’t play. HOWEVER, Sheldon Keefe noted that Nylander could still draw in despite that. So, once again, we’re in a holding pattern there. Expect either Nylander or Robertson on the third line tonight.

For Boston, Parker Wotherspoon comes in for Andrew Peeke following the latter’s injury. On the regular rotation front, James Van Riemsdyk and Mason Lohrei are in for Jakub Hauko and Matt Grzelcyk. We also expect them to return to Swayman in goal.

Leafs/Bruins to go to OT


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Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Injury Concerns

The Maple Leafs still have a world full of questions regarding William Nylander, who missed a second consecutive game on Monday and still hasn’t had his absence described in any real detail. Will he return Wednesday? Well, it remains to be seen, but hopes are high.

Andrew Peeke is out for the Bruins, having left Game 2 early. He has an upper-body injury and is now week-to-week, meaning we’ve likely seen the last of him in this series. Peeke did not travel with the team.

  • The Leafs snapped Boston’s eight-game win streak in the head-to-head, but remain 2-8 against them over the last 10 games between the two teams, dating back to November 2022. The Bruins are 6-4 against the puckline, and while the total goals line stayed under on Monday, it’s gone over in six of those 10 games.
  • Looking at the schedule at large, Toronto is 4-6 in their last 10, with a 3-7 record against the puckline. They’ve gone over the total goals one in six of their last 10, and four of their last five.
  • Boston are 6-4 in their last 10 games, with a 4-6 record against the puckline. They’ve cleared the total goals line just twice, posting eight unders.
  • With his monster game, Auston Matthews remains the team’s leader in goals (eight), points (12), and shots on goal (an absurd 59) over their last 10 games. Mitch Marner, despite the criticism surrounding him, still leads the team in assists in that stretch with six.
  • John Tavares’ tally in Game 2 bumps him to six goals in Toronto’s last 10. A nice bit of clutch contribution from the captain, who has pulled that off through 37 shots on goal.
  • David Pastrnak is the Bruins’ leader in goals (three, tied with two others), assists (eight), points (11), and shots on goal (39) over their last 10 games.

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

  • Auston Matthews is a mini-gun right now, taking an absurd 40 shots in his last five games. It’s harder to lean on the anytime goal prop every night when you’re in the postseason and facing great teams, but I like him to keep shooting. Your best value is on Betano, at -154. If you believe another goal is coming, Betano has him at -128.
  • I’m going back to the Tyler Bertuzzi well tonight, even if it wasn’t successful in Game 1. He’s played up to the occasion and was a high stick away from getting on the board on Monday. If you like him to break through Wednesday, the best value on an anytime goal is on Fanduel, at +300. If you want to be a bit more conservative and go for a single point, your best value is on Bet99 at +100.
  • I think the Bruins puckline is a pretty sharp play tonight (-244 on Proline+). It’s hard to win two in a row in the playoffs, especially in a series this close and especially in a decisive fashion. Even if Toronto pulls it out, I think it’ll be close. If you’re feeling extra spicy, you can get “Tied After Regulation – Yes” or “When Will Match End – Overtime” (effectively the same bet) on bet365 at +300.

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