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Maple Leafs vs Bruins Odds, Preview: Game 5 Prediction

Updated:2024-05-08 08:25    Views:168
Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Odds, PreviewTuesday, April 307 p.m. ETESPNMaple Leafs Odds+140Bruins Odds-165Over / Under5.5-122/+100Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins on Tuesday, April 30 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

The Maple Leafs are in an all-too-familiar position as they face the possibility of suffering yet another early playoff exit, but at the other end of the equation is a Boston squad that lost in the first round in each of the previous two years and blew a 3-1 series lead last season. Let's closely examine two franchises with something to prove before offering a Maple Leafs vs. Bruins preview.

Toronto Maple Leafs

If Toronto loses Tuesday, radical changes might be forthcoming. Of course, that's a statement that would be much easier to buy into if we hadn't heard it before. Year after year, strong regular seasons have led to playoff disappointment, yet the core of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly has remained static since 2018-19. Head coach Sheldon Keefe is on the verge of overseeing his fifth playoff exit with his 212-97-40 regular-season record contrasted by his 14-20 postseason showing.

Maybe the front office will decide that enough is enough, but Matthews, Nylander, Marner, Tavares and Rielly are all locked up for the 2024-25 campaign and have no-movement clauses, which makes it unlikely Toronto could "win" any trade involving them. Meanwhile, Keefe was signed to a contract extension in August 2023 that doesn't start until next season, so while he could be fired regardless, it'd make doing so a little more awkward.

That talk has been dominating the media since Toronto suffered a 3-1 loss to Boston on Saturday to fall behind in the series 3-1. But is Toronto's exit is inevitable? Perhaps not, but the pessimism has validity.

Ilya Samsonov hasn't been up to the task of carrying the Leafs, allowing 12 goals on 103 shots (.883 save percentage). Joseph Woll might start in Game 5, but the 25-year-old was also hit-and-miss during the regular season and finished with a 12-11-1 record, a 2.94 GAA and a .907 save percentage over 25 outings.

That wouldn't be such a big problem if Toronto's offense, which ranked second in the regular season with 3.63 goals per game, was getting the job done, but it isn't. To be fair, Nylander missed the first three playoff contests and might still be playing hurt, Matthews is dealing with some kind of illness and it wouldn't be shocking to find out that Marner's ankle hasn't been 100% since he returned from injury on April 6. Regardless, the Leafs' attack hasn't been nearly as scary as it was in the regular season.

Boston Bruins

Give some credit to Jeremy Swayman too. While Toronto deserves some of the blame for its anemic offense, the Bruins' goaltender has done his part, stopping 87-of-91 shots (.956 save percentage) in three starts.

That's especially encouraging because it gives Boston what it sorely lacked in 2023: Strong goaltending. Linus Ullmark won the Vezina Trophy for his efforts in the 2022-23 campaign, but when it came to the first-round series against Florida in the Bruins' subsequent playoff run, he surrendered 20 goals on 192 shots (.896 save percentage). It came out later that Ullmark was playing hurt, and that injury might have ultimately sunk the Bruins.

It's also why a similar collapse for the 2023-24 Bruins seems unlikely. They don't have those kind of netminding issue this time and that's likely to remain true. Boston also has the benefit of its star players stepping up — a contrast to the Maple Leafs' core. Toronto has no one in the playoffs with more than three points, while the Bruins have Brad Marchand (three goals, eight points), Jake DeBrusk (three goals, five points), David Pastrnak (two goals, four points) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (four assists). Outside Boston's top-four scorers, the Bruins have accumulated an additional six goals, which alone nearly tops Toronto's total of seven markers.

Boston's dominance in this series has been near complete.

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins

Betting Pick & Prediction

I look back at the history of Toronto's core and have trouble believing this group is built to overcome this level of adversity — not that they can't win Game 5, just that they're unlikely to persevere long enough to win the series.

However, the Bruins are such heavy favorites that there's little appeal in taking them on the moneyline. I'll instead suggest a play on the total — Under 5.5 goals.

Pick: Under 5.5 Goals +100 FanDuel (Play to -115)

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