The Toronto Maple Leafs have a chance at revenge against the class of the Atlantic Division, as they look to make up for both the loss of a game and the loss of a key player in their last matchup a month ago. Thankfully, they’re catching the Boston Bruins at an opportune time, when the team is showing some degree of vulnerability. Are they vulnerable enough for the blue and white to take advantage of, though? That remains the question, that we’ll try to answer today.
Bet on Bruins vs. Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs, in a rare twist, are home underdogs for this one at +100.
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs odds
|Bruins Moneyline Odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds
|Puck Line odds
|Bruins -1.5 (+220), Maple Leafs +1.5 (-270)
|Total Goals line
|6.0 goals (over -115, under -105)
|Dec. 2, 7:07 p.m. ET
|Broadcast: Sportsnet, CBC
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Bruins (15-4-3 SU, 12-10 ATS, 10-12 o/u)
Don’t look now, but the Bruins have shown just a little bit of vulnerability. Three of their four regulation losses this season have all come in the past eight days, with a three-game skid occurring against Detroit, the Rangers, and Columbus, before finally beating San Jose on Thursday. This is the first time that Boston has lost three games in a row since last year’s playoffs, the first time they’ve done it in the regular season since January, and the first time they’ve done it in regulation since April 2022.
Yeah, it’s been a while. Keeping the puck out of the net was the primary concern across this streak, with the team conceding 17 goals in that span. Of course, the San Jose win was a confidence booster in the other direction, with Jeremy Swayman posting a 26-save shutout.
About the Maple Leafs (12-6-3 SU, 5-16 ATS, 10-10 o/u)
The Maple Leafs come into tonight on a two-game winning streak, but once again, needed longer than regulation to get there. Mitch Marner, unphased by his jaw injury, came out against the Seattle Kraken wearing a fishbowl visor and made it legendary with a performance he sorely needed. Marner opened the scoring six minutes into the first period with his sixth of the year on the powerplay and followed it up with an insurance marker in the opening seconds of the second. Jared McCann brought Seattle back within one, only for Marner to cap off a hat trick before the period could close.
This should’ve been an opportunity for the Leafs to coast their way to a gentle landing for the first time in weeks, but instead, a goal from Eeli Tolvanen and a second tally from McCann tied the game in the third period and forced overtime. That solved nothing, and in the shootout, Auston Matthews scored the same goal as he did in the previous win, and Marner walked the game off with his unofficial fourth tally.
As always, it’s great for the Leafs when they can bank two points, but the inability to pull away from any tier of opponent right now remains a concern. While Toronto has a 0.643 record, their five regulation wins exceed only Montreal, who could tie them today if the circumstances go their way. No other team above 0.500 has fewer than seven regulation wins, and no other team above 0.550 has fewer than nine. While there isn’t anything specific about winning in regulation that matters beyond an end-of-season tiebreaker, it’s a good reflection of who is controlling games enough to win reliably. Consistently needing 3v3 or a shootout to win a game on the last shot is worrisome, given the luck involved once it gets to that point. Good teams eliminate being at the mercy of those fringes, and Toronto needs to find a way to do that with more regularity.
These two teams last faced each other a month ago today, in a nailbiter that ended in a Leafs shootout defeat. To Toronto’s credit, they showed some resolve in turning this game around, conceding the first two goals to Pavel Zacha and Jake DeBrusk before responding with tallies from Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. Scoring dried up before the halfway mark of the game, and in the skills competition, DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle both scored on Ilya Samsonov while Toronto was unable to muster anything to beat Jeremy Swayman.
This game is particularly notable for the fact that it marked the end of Timothy Liljegren’s season to this point. Brad Marchand tripped him with a can-opener-esque move in the corner, giving him a high ankle sprain. There was no penalty, and no response, which led to much discourse about Toronto’s toughness and willingness to stick up for each other, and a bizarre soundbite from Ryan Reaves where he swore he’d have sent a message to Marchand if they’d just been on the ice together, despite getting two shifts with him where nothing happened.
This has some people wondering if Toronto will do something tonight, though I’m not sure I’m holding my breath here. Marchand is a master of dodging these things, and Reaves is a “code” heavyweight who won’t actually fight a non-heavyweight, so unless someone else does something that crosses the line even more so, this will probably be a nothing burger.
|Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Noah Gregor – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
William Lagesson – Jake McCabe
Simon Benoit – Conor Timmins
Starting In Goal
8-5-0, 2.74 GAA, 0.917 SV%
Jake Debrusk – Pavel Zacha – David Pastrnak
Brad Marchand – Matthew Poitras – Danton Heinen
James van Riemsdyk – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederic
Jakub Lauko – John Beecher – Morgan Geekie
Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Kevin Shattenkirk
Starting In Goal
Linus Ullmark (Projected)
7-3-1, 2.64 GAA, 0.917 SV%
Toronto’s lineup remains more or less the same as it did throughout this week, as does Bostons.
The Bruins’ success with this group is something that surprises a lot of people, as they’ve managed to survive the loss of key players over the years and somehow keep getting better, but the depth makes itself more and more clear as days pass by. There may not be an elite centre like they had in the Patrice Bergeron years, but that 1-2-3 is a very capable trio, with Poitras, in particular, having lots of upside. The blue line is fantastic and both of their goalies automatically give you a chance to win, and Marchand-Pastrnak-McAvoy is an enviable superstar trio. I don’t think they’re going to be a 0.850 team until the end of time by any means, but there’s more here than we give credit to them for whenever we’re shocked by their position.
James van Riemsdyk (BOS) over 0.5 points
Ilya Samsonov is added to the Leafs lineup of absences today, as he’s out with an illness. Martin Jones has been called up on an emergency basis. This goes with the usual list – Giordano, Klingberg, Liljegren, Murray.
The Bruins are effectively healthy. Milan Lucic is on the IR, for what started as a lower-body injury and became a personal leave after a domestic abuse incident, but with the latter in mind, it’s safe to consider him as good as non-rostered for a while, if not for good.
- If you’ve been reading my recent pre-games, you know we’re keeping an eye on the biggest rivalry in hockey, the Leafs vs. the Puckline. Right now, the Puckline continues to kick their butts, as Toronto has covered it just once in their last 14 games. We’ll see if they can tonight with the shoe being on the other foot.
- Toronto seems to do much better as an underdog, with a record of 8-2 in their last ten where they’ve entered the game in that position on the betting market. They’ve cleared the puck line in 9 of those 10 games, to a typical gain of about 7.2 units if you backed them equally all ten times.
- Head to head, the Bruins have a slight edge in this rivalry’s recent history, winning six of the last ten.
Player prop trends
- There really isn’t a lot of production up and down the Toronto lineup right now. Mitch Marner and Matthew Knies are the only players with more than one goal in their last five games, and Marner’s three all come from his hat trick against Seattle.
- Charlie Coyle is on a bit of a hot streak in Boston, with seven goals and four assists in his last 10 games. He’s added 28 shots on goal as well, so while his stick is hot, he’s generating opportunities along the way.
- An old friend to Leafs faithful, James Van Riemsdyk is also on a bit of a run with the B’s. He’s put up 15 points in 21 games this year, including two goals and eight assists in his last 11 games.
Wagers to consider
- Auston Matthews has to be there somewhere, right? The megastar centre has not looked himself in recent weeks, and while we assume the big game is going to come, it just hasn’t yet. Maybe Marner popping off on Thursday acts as inspiration for him. If you want to start small with him, his shot line is set to -175 to clear 3.5 shots on goal, a line he’s cleared 12 of 21 times this year and in three of his last six games. If you’re particularly confident, an any-time goal sits at +115.
- I always like leaning into former Leafs when they come into town. James Van Riemsdyk is +110 to get a point tonight, and his line is hot, so you’re not just betting on schadenfreude.
- For once, I’m going to say that the boosted Same Game Parlay selection might be worth passing on. The closest to interesting is a Leafs moneyline win combined with Matthews having 5+ shots on goal at +350, but even that feels pretty aspirational. The other boosts require multiple correct goal scorers or multi-point games and I don’t know that there’s a ton of value there. I look forward to being wrong and seeing that Matthews + Pastrnak + Tavares goal combo at +1400 hit just to spite me.