The Boston Bruins have been one of the National Hockey League’s most consistent teams over the past decade or so. Unfortunately for Bruins supporters, they have slipped down the Atlantic Division ladder this year and Boston could end up missing out on the playoffs. After a few years of success, this would mark the third time in four seasons where the Bruins are forced to sit out of the postseason.
Meanwhile, Toronto are heading in the opposite direction – it would be foolish to look past the Maple Leafs on current form. With seven wins from their last 10 outings, Mike Babcock’s side are neck-and-neck with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the top of the division and pipping their close rivals to the Atlantic crown will be the number one objective. Gaining some form of psychological edge ahead of the playoffs could prove decisive.
The Maple Leafs have won eight of the last 10 meetings and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Toronto notch another victory here. A win for the road team would send out a real statement of intent. Boston have failed to inspire confidence this campaign but TD Garden remains a difficult place to win for visiting teams.
Toronto The Stanley Cup Value Bet?
At 12/1 to win ice hockey’s ultimate prize, the Maple Leafs are perhaps the best priced team in the National Hockey League. Auston Matthews has been firing on all cylinder since making his return from injury and Toronto have a real chance to push on and challenge for supremacy in the postseason. Write the Canadian side off at your peril…
Mitchell Marner has really stepped up to the plate in recent months, notching 40 points in 29 appearances in 2018/19. He has scored just six goals but his 34 assists is good enough for second place in the entire National Hockey league. Quite impressive when you consider he is still just 21 years old.
Helped of course by free agency acquisition John Tavares, Toronto’s young guns can carry the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup series. From there, anything is possible. We could see another Toronto triumph on the biggest stage of all…
Boston Quickly Slipping Out Of Contention
The Bruins are in desperate need of a major improvement but it is difficult to envision a fast turnaround. Boston’s recent form is concerning and they may struggle to cope with the intense fixture list in the coming weeks. Backing against the Bruins on home ice is never an easy thing to do but it makes complete sense.
David Pastrnak leads the team with 32 points and that simply isn’t good enough for Boston to be able to compete. The supporting cast haven’t been anywhere near the level required to take the Bruins back to the latter stages of the postseason and you won’t find too many punters backing Boston to go all the way.
Despite their contrasting form, the Bruins should make a game of this in the early stages. The added spice of a divisional fixture should spur Boston on at TD Garden and it might be a close first period.
However, Toronto’s class should tell in the later stages of the contest and the Maple Leafs may pull away. This has all the makings of a gritty clash and Toronto have the strength and determination, as well as the quality, to prevail.
Marner could be Toronto’s main difference maker if his recent efforts are anything to go by. The Maple Leafs have a plethora of game winners though and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see any of their main man step up to the plate this weekend.
TIP: Toronto Maple Leafs to win
CORRECT SCORE: Boston Bruins 2-4 Toronto Maple Leafs