Its win or hit the links for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They trail the Boston Bruins 3-1 in their best of seven Eastern Conference opening round playoff series and have been rendered helpless in most of it. Game four at Toronto was a devastating blow for the Leafs as they were manhandled in a 3-1 loss thus ending their shot at sending this series back to Boston tied and even. The Bruins have been too much for the Maple Leafs on both ends of the ice and particularly between the pipes. And as sacrilegious as it may sound to some, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been schooling the revered Toronto coach Mike Babcock. Boston can close out the series on Saturday night on home ice.
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Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins Game 5
Date and Time: Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
NHL Odds at Betcris: Check Back Later
Maple Leafs vs. Bruins TV Coverage: NBC
If Toronto upsets Boston in game five they will force a game six at Toronto on Monday night.
Boston center Patrice Bergeron is questionable with an upper body issue. Bergeron has five assists with a plus four so far in this series. In the regular season Bergeron had 30 goals and 33 assists with a plus 21.
Toronto center Nazem Kadri will return after a three-game suspension for the Leafs.
Toronto’s Mike Babcock won a Stanley Cup during his time with the Detroit Red Wings and has won two Olympic Gold medals with Team Canada as well as the 2016 World Cup of Hockey with Canada. He is universally acclaimed as the best in the business.
If Boston’s Bruce Cassidy is intimidated by Babcock he hasn’t shown it in this series. He has been praised for his in-game line matchups and defense pairings against the Leafs. Taking over a dispirited Bruins team last year he proved to be the fresh voice that was needed. He is 68-28-13 behind the bench with Boston.
Players to Watch
David Pastrnak has been a dominant force for the Bruins so far in the post season. Pastrnak has four goals, seven assists, and a plus five after the first four games. His success is no fluke as evidenced in the regular season where Pastrnak had 35 goals and 45 assists with a plus 10.
Toronto phenom Auston Matthews has been a major disappointment in the playoffs. Boston has held the 2016 NHL number one draft pick in check permitting just one goal in the first four games. Matthews is also a minus four.
Frederik Andersen has been subpar for the Maple Leafs in this series with a poor save percentage of .880 and a 4.12 goals against average.
Boston’s Tuukka Rask has been in Smythe Trophy form so far in the post season with a save percentage of .926 and a 2.27 goals against average.
Boston has a significant edge on special teams. In the regular season they were sixth best in the NHL for the power play and an even better third for penalty killing. So far in the playoffs the Bruins are boasting the best power play in the NHL.
The Bruins were very tough and highly profitable at TD Garden this season with a record of 28-8-5. They won both of their previous home playoff games against Toronto.
Toronto had a road record this year of 20-16-3-2.
Boston has won three straight home games against Toronto. Just three of the last ten games in this series at TD Garden have gone over the total.
Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Free Picks
Boston is smothering Toronto and is a superb home team with a clear goaltending advantage.
Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Pick: Bet the Boston Bruins money line
Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Score Prediction: Bruins 3, Maple Leafs 1
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