Leaf Report: How Does Toronto Respond After A Rough Two Games?
How Does Toronto Flip The Script?
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven't really been in either of the first two games of this series as they've looked completely outmatched and overwhelmed. G Fredrik Andersen allowed three goals on his first four shots faced in Game 2 to basically end Toronto's chances early, and seeing how he responds is going to be a big factor for Game 3 on Monday night. Andersen is going to need some help though and it's got to start with figuring out a way for the Leafs to shutdown the Marchand/Pastrnak/Bergeron line.
Boston's top line featuring those three guys have obliterated the Leafs so far in this series and show no signs of cooling off. Pastrnak lit up the scoresheet in Game 2, and if this line isn't taken out of the game and off the scoresheet, the Toronto players better get their golf clubs cleaned real soon as they'll be hitting the links in no time. Finding a solution to flip this script is not going to be easy, but look for Toronto to shake up a line or two, feed off the energy from their home crowd early, and hopefully get that first goal and play from ahead for once.
Can Boston Continue To Be Dominant?
On the other side of the coin we've got a Boston Bruins team that's feeling their oats quite a bit at the moment as the confidence in that dressing room has got to be sky high. They know that a win in Game 3 would basically put the Leafs away in this series, but they also know that Toronto is going to throw everything they've got at them from the outset of Game 3 to try and get back in the series. Weathering the early storm will be crucial for Boston's chances in Game 3, and it never hurts to put up that first goal again.
Yet, if things don't turn out that way and the Bruins dominant ways start to vanish in Game 3 and a loss follows, all of a sudden the Bruins have more of a fight on their hands then what it currently looks like. They are slight road underdogs in Game 3 despite their dominance, and without question they will get plenty of betting support from many hockey bettors. But with the Leafs basically in do-or-die mode here, Game 3 is a game I'd probably stay away from on the side.
Betting Boston/Toronto Game 3
Instead of picking a winner for this pivotal Game 3, I'm looking at the total and looking to attack. The first two games have been offensive scoring-fests with 6 and 10 goals scored respectively and there isn't a whole lot of reasons on the surface to expect Game 3 to be any different. The total of 5.5 is already juiced to the over (-120) and will be the more popular side without question, especially with Andersen trying to rebound from getting pulled so early on last game.
Yet, backing goalies who got pulled in the playoffs is something I have no problem doing as these pros tend to find a way to show up and play their best. Andersen and the Leafs have no choice if they want to get back in the series, and they've already proven that their chances of success in a back-and-forth higher scoring game aren't that great. With shutting down Boston's top line being priority #1 for Toronto, I'm expecting a much better defensive effort from them in Game 3 as they look to slow the game down a bit and be much more physical at both ends of the rink.
That's why I'm looking to take the under 5.5 in this game and will probably wait until closer to puck drop to see if any flat "6"s show up at sportsbooks. After two blowout wins by Boston, Game 3 has the feel of a 3-2 game going either way written all over it and it's why I'm only looking to the low side of the total here.
Betting Pick: Under 5.5 Goals
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