by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs will have an injury-induced shuffled lineup in their first game of the season against their nemesis – and the moneyline history is less than promising.
The Maple Leafs are the -120 home favourite, while the Boston Bruins are the +100 away underdog with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Boston, of course, knocked Toronto out of the playoffs in Game 7 of the first round in both 2018 and 2019. The Maple Leafs are 8-12 in their last 20 games against the Bruins, as well as 2-7 in their last nine home games as a moneyline favourite of -115 to -140. The total finished UNDER at betting sites in five of those nine games.
Bruins at Maple Leafs | OddsShark Matchup Report
The visiting Bruins are 5-1-1 and in second place in the competitive Atlantic Division, although the perception they are a one-line offence is even more pronounced. The line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak has scored 14 of the 19 goals for the NHL’s 22nd-ranked offence (2.71 goals per game). The unit is also responsible for Boston boasting the league’s second-best power play (38.1 per cent). It could be more of the same for Toronto if Auston Matthews’ line cannot contain the Bergeron line. The Bruins allow the third-fewest goals per game (1.86) and are eighth in penalty killing (85.7)
Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak is 2-1-0 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .951 save percentage this season, and he’ll be between the pipes on Saturday instead of Tuukka Rask.
The Maple Leafs are 4-3-1 this season and have shuffled their lines to try to account for captain John Tavares (broken finger) being sidelined. The Matthews-Andreas Johnsson-William Nylander first line is intact, but Tavares’ regular wingers have been separated. Alex Kerfoot is centering the second line aside Mitch Marner and rookie left wing Ilya Mikheyev, while aging Jason Spezza will get a crack at playing between wings Trevor Moore and Kasperi Kapanen.
The Leafs are fourth in goal scoring (3.88 / game) and eighth in power-play efficiency (26.9 per cent) and it is plausible they can absorb the absence of Tavares and outflank Boston with secondary scoring. But they would likely also need a peak performance from a 21st-ranked defence (3.38 goals against / game) and 15th-ranked penalty killing unit (80.8).
Frederik Andersen, who is 4-2-0 with a 3.14 GAA and .893 save percentage in six games this season, is in line to start in goal. Backup Michael Hutchinson played in the 4-3 defeat at Washington on Wednesday.
The game on Saturday is the first of a three-in-four stretch for the Maple Leafs, who host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and visit Boston for a rematch with the Bruins on Tuesday.