The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are set to square off in the first round of the NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs. These two teams play extremely different styles of hockey, and this should be a very interesting series. Boston has been tough to score on all season long, while the Toronto Maple Leafs have a ton of offensive talent.
Boston finished in second place in the Atlantic Division this season but managed to rack up 107 points. The Bruins just couldn’t catch up to the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning. Toronto was right behind Boston in the Atlantic Division and finished the regular season with 100 points. The Boston Bruins are -145 in the first game of the series.
Toronto Must Get Back to Scoring
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a high scoring team throughout the season, but they have been in a slump of late. The Maple Leafs have been held to two or fewer goals in four of their last five games. Toronto is averaging 3.49 goals per game this season, which is the fourth-best scoring average in the NHL. The Maple Leafs like to speed the game up, and that has caused them to allow more than 3 goals per game.
The Maple Leafs have a trio of centers who have put up huge numbers for them this season. Veteran John Tavares leads the team with 47 goals and Mitch Marner leads the team with 68 assists and 94 points. Young Auston Matthews is the most talented player on the Leafs roster, and he has chipped in with 37 goals. This trio will need to have a big series to beat Boston.
Defense, Power-Play Carrying Bruins
The Boston Bruins have a pretty high-powered offense as well, and their power-play has been a big reason for their success. Boston is converting on 26 percent of their power-play chances this season, and that could be a huge advantage in this series. The Bruins have also been tremendous at slowing down opponents this season. Boston is holding teams to just 2.59 goals per game, but this will be a real challenge for them.
Left winger Brad Marchand has been the offensive star for Boston this season; recording a team-high 64 assists and 100 points. David Pastrnak is having the best season of his young career as well and leads the team with 38 goals. The real stars for the Bruins have been a pair of outstanding goalies. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have started every game for the Bruins this season, and have combined for nine goals. Boston has a luxury of having a terrific backup plan if one goalie is struggling.
Boston Takes Game 1
The Boston Bruins won three of the four games in the season series against the Maple Leafs, and they have a slight edge. Toronto will do all they can to speed up the tempo of this game, but Boston knows how to control the puck. Look for the Bruins’ goalies to steal the show in the series opener and give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Bet the Boston Bruins -145 over the Toronto Maple Leafs.