Leaf Report: Can Toronto Duplicate Their Game 3 Performance In Game 4?
Maple Leafs Players Responded When They Had To
With their backs against the wall and utterly embarrassed after two brutal performances in Games 1 and 2, the Toronto Maple Leafs looked like the team that got 100+ points in the standings this year in Game 3. Austin Matthews stepped up in a big way the entire game, but his game-winning goal was a beauty and was exactly what this Leafs team needed. But the important thing for this team to remember is it's still one game and in the playoffs it doesn't matter if you win 8-0 or 1-0, it's still just one win in the Best of Seven series.
The task at hand for Toronto in Game 4 is to duplicate the effort and result they had in Game 3 so that they can head back to Boston chalk full of confidence and tied up in this series. The move to put Tomas Plekanec up on the 2nd line to check Boston's top line proved to be quite successful, but he and his Leafs teammates better be prepared for Boston to make their own adjustments. The last thing the Bruins want after two dominating wins to open up the series is to head back home for Game 5 knotted up, so Toronto better be ready to weather an early storm from the Bruins.
How Will The Bruins Respond?
Just like the Leafs (and their fans) have to remember that as great as Game 3 was, it was still just one win, the Bruins are on the other side of the coin and have to take a step back and look big picture. Boston still has a series lead, they've still got home ice advantage, and they've still got an opportunity to steal one on the road and then head back home with a chance to close things out. Boston dealt with one of the best versions of this Leafs team in Game 3, and sometimes getting that kick in the butt is the best thing for a good team like the Bruins.
Boston always knew that this series wouldn't be easy, but after how easy the wins came at home, Game 3 was probably the wake-up call they needed. This is still a team that finished near the top of the league this year, and they really didn't do a whole lot that bad in Game 3, they just got beat. That's one of the positives Boston should be taking from that game, and I would suspect we see a Bruins team that looks much like the one from the opening two games to show up in Game 4.
How To Bet Game 4
Despite the Game 3 loss, Boston has opened up as a slight -120 road favourite at SportsInteraction. Oddsmakers know that the Leafs line had to be a little shaded in Game 3 given the series situation, but now that it's 2-1, having the Bruins laying slight chalk on the road is probably where this line should have been all along. Toronto will see some support from the betting public given the way they got back into this series, but a 1-4 SU run for the Leafs after a win suggests going the other way may be the better option.
Bettors also have to remember that there was an extra day of rest for both sides in between Games 3 and 4 and you've got to think that helps Boston much more. For one, it kills off some of the momentum the Leafs gathered from that big win, and two, it gives the Bruins a full extra day to work out adjustments to their gameplan. Throw in Boston's 12-2 SU run when given two full days off in between games their last 14 tries and all of a sudden that -120 price tag looks quite good.
Bet: Boston Bruins ML -120
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