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Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs (Game 2): Preview & Prediction

Toronto forward Zach Hyman with the puck behind Boston's net
Zach Hyman (L) scored the lone goal for the Leafs in their 5-1 loss to the Bruins in Game 1 on Thursday. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski (Wikipedia) [CC License].

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ quest for their first playoff series win since 2004 got off to an inauspicious start on Thursday with a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Bruins. Auston Matthews and company will try to even the best-of-seven clash in Game 2 tonight at TD Garden in Boston (7:00 PM ET).

As expected, the Bruins opened as sizeable home favorites for Game 2, while the over/under mirrors the final score of Game 1.

Opening Odds

MONEYLINE PUCKLINE O/U GOALS
LEAFS (+150) LEAFS +1.5 (-200) OVER 6.0 (-105)
BRUINS (-170) BRUINS -1.5 (+170) UNDER 6.0 (-115)

The first game of the series wound up a one-sided affair. Brad Marchand opened the scoring early with a power-play marker off the rush (see 0:21 mark of video below). Zach Hyman was able to even the score at 1-1 (see 1:16) heading into the first intermission, but it was all Bruins from there.

Boston took the lead for good with just under five minutes remaining in the second on a goal by David Backes (see 2:27), stretched the lead to two right before the period ended on a snipe from the top of the circle by David Pasternak (see 2:59), and outshot Toronto 31-20 over the final 40 minutes.

They wound up 3-6 on the powerplay versus 0-3 for the Leafs.

Toronto lost more than just a game on Thursday night, as well: 32-goal-scorer Nazem Kadri received a three-game suspension for his filthy hit on a vulnerable Tommy Wingels.

Key Injuries & Absences

BRUINS LEAFS
Brandon Carlo: Out (fractured ankle) Nazem Kadri: Out (suspension)
Riley Nash: Questionable (ear)
Tommy Wingels: Questionable (UBI)

The Bruins have been battling injuries all season, and now Wingels’ status is in doubt after being crunched by Kadri.

The Leafs, on the other hand, are fully intact save for the suspension of their second-line center.

Team Stats

BRUINS STATISTIC LEAFS
50-20-12 (28-8-5 Home) REGULAR-SEASON RECORD 49-26-7 (20-16-5 Away)
 +56 (T 3rd) GOAL DIFFERENCE (LEAGUE RANK) +45 (5th)
3.38 GPG (T 2nd) GF/GAME 3.29 GPG (6th)
2.83 GAA (11th) GA/GAME 2.61 GAA (3rd)
 52.84% (2nd) FENWICK % 49.02% (21st)
 23.6% (4th)  POWER PLAY % 24.9% (2nd)
 83.7% (2nd)  PENALTY KILL % 81.4% (11th)
 .912% (9th) TEAM SV% .917% (T 4th)

Betting Results & Trends*

BRUINS  TREND LEAFS
Won 1 WIN/LOSS STREAK Lost 1
5-5 LAST 10 6-4
40-43 PUCKLINE RECORD 34-49
39-39-4 OVER/UNDER SPLIT 41-35-6
Push 2 OVER/UNDER STREAK Push 2

*All statistics date back to regular season.

Score Prediction

LEAFS 2
BRUINS 4

If the Leafs are going to win this series, they need their second-ranked power play to be the difference maker. The Bruins are an utterly dominant team at 5-on-5. Their 52.84 Fenwick % leaps all the way to a league-leading 53.80% when you isolate 5-on-5 situations, while Toronto’s falls from 49.02% to 48.67%.

The problem with that script for Toronto is, generally, the way teams generate PP opportunities is by controlling play at even strength. Hence, Boston was top ten in PP opportunities during the regular season (259), while Toronto was third-last (224).

Toronto … has the firepower to steal a game … But the percentages strongly favor Boston … taking a 2-0 series lead.

Boston also has the second-best PK in the league and is more disciplined than their reputation would suggest (245 shorthanded opportunities; 14th).

Toronto absolutely has the firepower to steal a game or two in this series. But the percentages strongly favor Boston — a team that lost on home ice just eight times during the regular season — taking a 2-0 series lead.

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Sascha was a hockey player in his youth, a lawyer in his capricious mid-20s, and has been SBD's lead oddsmaker/number cruncher since 2014. He writes and edits about everything you can possibly put odds on. He's happiest when those things are football, baseball, hockey and basketball (in that order).