The Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Boston Bruins on Saturday night in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Playoff Series. The Bruins are listed as home favorites in this contest with the total at six. The Bruins were an excellent home team during the regular season, but the Maple Leafs won three of the four regular season meetings against Boston. Let’s look at the contest that can be seen on NBC and NHL Playoff picks.
At 8:00 p.m. ET, tune into NBC for live television coverage of this NHL game on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at TD Garden.
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The Bruins would have been far better off playing New Jersey in the first round rather than the Maple Leafs, but Boston couldn’t beat Florida in their regular season finale. Toronto has a potent offensive team and they have a head coach in Mike Babcock who knows how to win in the playoffs. The Bruins also lost three of the four regular season meetings against Toronto. The Maple Leafs scored 3.3 goals per game, 4th best in the league. The problem for Toronto is their defense, as they allowed a lot of shots on goal this season and they allowed 2.8 goals per game. They will need goaltender Frederik Andersen to play great if they are to win this series.
The Bruins were almost as good as Toronto on offense, as they were 6th in the league in goals per game and they were better on defense, as they allowed 2.4 goals per game, 4th best in the league. Boston will get a big test in this series and they will need goaltender Tuukka Rask to shine if they are to shut down Toronto’s offense.
The Maple Leafs were the 2nd best team in the league on the power play at 25% and they were 10th in penalty killing at 81.4%. The Bruins were 4th on the power play at 23.5% and they were 3rd in penalty killing at 83.7%.
The Maple Leafs need someone other than Auston Matthews to score if they are to win this series. That player needs to be Nazem Kadri who has scored 63 goals since October of 2016. That is 17th in the NHL. The problem for Kadri is that he has scored in just two of 13 playoff games in his career. He has to be a factor for the Leafs to win this series.
The key player for the Bruins is Brad Marshand. He is a player the Bruins need to stay on the ice if they are to win. The problem for Marshand and the Bruins is that he is a player who crosses the line too often. The Maple Leafs have a great power play and if Marchand can’t stay out of the penalty box the Bruins will be in trouble in this game and in this series.
The Maple Leafs won three of the four regular season meetings against the Bruins. In two of those wins the Leafs rallied to win. The Leafs were outshot in three of the four games. Strangely enough, Auston Matthews didn’t play in any of the three wins for the Leafs. Surprisingly, six of the last ten meetings in this series have gone under the total.
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Both of these teams can score and I am not sold on either of their defenses. The Bruins do have very good defensive numbers but I don’t think Chara is that good any longer and I don’t trust Rask. The Leafs have more than enough offense to challenge the Bruins defensively and they don’t play enough defense to win games 2-1. I think this will be a high scoring game on Saturday night, so I will go over the total.
NHL Odds: Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3
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