- Maple Leafs won Game 1 on the strength of disciplined, opportunistic play
- Bruins handed Toronto a demoralizing 4-1 loss in Game 2
- Leafs forward Nazem Kadri facing suspension, will miss Game 3
The Boston Bruins rebounded from a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening game of their first-round NHL playoff series on Thursday, grinding out a 4-1 Game 2 victory to send the series back to Scotiabank Arena knotted at one game apiece. With the win, the Bruins have also helped their own cause on the NHL playoff odds, pulling even with Toronto as a -110 bet on the NHL series prices at Bovada.
Maple Leafs vs Bruins NHL Playoff Series Odds
|Team||Odds at Bovada|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-110|
*Odds taken as of 04/14/19
Maple Leafs Claimed Early Series Lead with Steady Play
The Bruins endured a tough start to the postseason, falling flat in Game 1 against a Leafs squad playing some of their most disciplined hockey of the season. While Boston outshot the Maple Leafs by a 38-33 margin, Toronto’s steady play without the puck, and goaltender Frederik Andersen’s rock solid performance between the pipes proved to be the difference as the Maple Leafs seized their first lead in a playoff series with Boston since 1959, and subsequently emerged as favorites on the NHL series prices.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 12, 2019
However, the tables were dramatically turned in Game 2 on Saturday night, as the Bruins reverted to their customary physical style of play. In addition, the Bruins’ top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak finally made their presence felt, with Marchand tallying a goal and an assist, including the game-winner.
Bruins Gain Momentum as Scene Shifts to Toronto for Game 3
The Maple Leafs still hold home-ice advantage in the series on the strength of Thursday night’s win, but with the momentum clearly swinging in Boston’s favor, anxiety is starting to build across Leafs Nation.
With the momentum clearly swinging in Boston’s favor, anxiety is start to build across Leafs Nation.
Toronto was outclassed in almost every statistical category in Saturday’s loss as a +125 underdog. In addition to being outshot by a wide 41-31 margin, the Maple Leafs were also outhit by the Bruins, who also posted 12 takeaways to Toronto’s five, and seized the opportunity with the man advantage, scoring on the power play in a second straight game, after going 0-for-11 over their previous five outings.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 14, 2019
And while the Maple Leafs have won seven of their last eight meetings with the Bruins on home ice, history clearly favors Boston. Toronto has fallen to defeat in each of their past five playoff matchups with the Bruins, including last year’s first-round loss, and a stunning meltdown in Game 7 in their 2013 opening-round tilt.
Where were you in 2013 when the Leafs and Bruins played Game 7? pic.twitter.com/Vg1hZ9ZRbP
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) April 25, 2018
Pressure on Matthews to Step Up as Kadri Faces Suspension
The Maple Leafs’ best players have also struggled to produce consistent performances against the Bruins. Mitch Marner was clearly the star in Thursday night’s win, but struggled to find the groove in Game 2. Auston Matthews has also failed to live up to his superstar billing when facing the Bruins. The top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft has tallied just two points and has a minus-5 rating in nine career playoff meetings with Boston. Matthews gas just five points in his past 10 games.
Playoff points for 2018-18 and 2018-19. – Auston Matthews = 2 T. Plekanec = 4. Just saying.
— Bill McNaughton (@McNaughtonBill) April 14, 2019
Greater impact and more production from Matthews will be crucial to the Maple Leafs’ hopes of advancing to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Kadri and DeBrusk collide. Knee on knee. pic.twitter.com/xNPPgs0rYZ
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) April 14, 2019
With Nazem Kadri now facing a possible lengthy suspension after laying out Boston’s Jake Debrusk with a crosscheck in a chippy third period Saturday night, the need for Matthews to step up has become crucial. Kadri faces postseason discipline for a second straight year, and his absence will leave a huge hole in what has otherwise been a physically soft Leafs lineup this season.
Here’s the DeBrusk hit on Marleau and Kadri crosscheck. pic.twitter.com/WlkPtO2kbe
— NHL Prospects Watcher (@Prospects_Watch) April 14, 2019
This series is far from over, but as long-suffering Leafs fans know far too well, rewriting playoff narratives is easier said than done. With the pressure now squarely resting on Blue & White shoulders, the most value can currently be found by taking the Bruins to once again knock off Toronto.
The Pick: Bruins to win series (-110)
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