Date/Time: May 1st, 7:00 PM ET
Moneyline: Boston -180
The Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs know all about each other, having played each other four times in this shortened season. The two are going to start a best of seven series against each other in NHL betting action on Wednesday night at the TD Garden.
The Maple Leafs are going to be thrilled to be at this point, as this is the first time in nine years in which they have been in the second season. This was the goal of the team this year, but now, the aspirations are a heck of a lot higher now that the team is here and is the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. G James Reimer would probably be ranked at least 12th or worst amongst the goalies that you’d like to have on your team this time of year, so the offense is going to have to come up large. C Nazem Kadri has really been the star of the team this season, as he came out of nowhere to score nearly a point a game, just as he was doing in the AHL prior to the start of the season. The talent is definitely there to do some damage, and RW Phil Kessel is going to be leading the troops. You don’t think of Toronto as a team that has averaged 3.0 goals per game this year, but that was exactly what happened.
The Bruins figure to be the superior of these two teams, but we aren’t all that sure that’s the case. They aren’t playing the best hockey in the world right now, and they blew not just one, but two opportunities to win the Northeast Division title on the final weekend of the regular season. They have home ice advantage here in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, but there is something to be said about a team’s psyche after not winning its division when it really had to feel like it should have all season long. That said, this is a team that is only two years removed from its Stanley Cup run, and there isn’t a heck of a lot that is all that different. Most of the front liners are still in place, and the only thing that has changed has been G Tuukka Rask, who was the backup net minder on that team. Rask has taken over for the departed G Tim Thomas and has played well this season, and he is going to have to be a star over the course of these next two months if Boston is going to once again hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The oddsmakers are really off base in this game. Go back and look at what Boston has done over the course of the last several games and tell us that it should be favored by a -180 margin against anyone in the league. Not only is the team just 2-7 in its last nine games, but those two wins came against Tampa Bay and Florida. We definitely prefer the Maple Leafs in this one, as they will win this game at least 40% of the time.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Boston Bruins Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs +160
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.