For the most part being a favorite in the 1st round of the NHL playoffs hasn’t been a good thing. Both the #1 seeded Flames and Lightning have already bowed out of the postseason and now what many people felt was a Stanley Cup contender in Boston is about ready to do the same. The Bruins see their season on the line in the April 21st NHL free pick as they are down 3-2 in their series vs. Toronto. The Leafs are -125 favorites to close things out and move on to face Columbus.
It’s Boston’s Time for a Win in a Flip-Flopping Series
The Bruins definitely have their backs against the wall ahead of the April 21st NHL free pick but they aren’t completely counted out yet. First off, Boston did win Game 5 in Toronto by a score of 6-4. Not only that the teams have flip-flopped wins and losses so far in each game of the series and the Bruins lost 1-2 on Friday meaning they’re due for a win…right? Will the threat of elimination fire up Boston who had the 2nd most points in the league during the regular season with 107?
The Bruins seem to be passing on a lot of shots for the most part in the series but expect them to be firing away with the season on the line. Patrice Bergeron had goals in the 1st two games, but has just 1 assist the last three. David Pastrnak had a 2 goal outing the last game in Toronto and Brad Marchand added a goal and 2 assists in Game 4. Getting Tuukka Rask some offensive support would be nice considering he let up just 2 goals in Game 5 but still took the L.
Is the Pressure Actually on Toronto in Game 6?
The Maple Leafs are at home on Sunday but could that actually be a detriment to them. Toronto has traditionally played better this series when the pressure wasn’t on them – Game 1 in Boston, Game 3 at home after the Bruins tied up the series for example. The Leafs are in a great spot with the ability to clinch the series at home with a contest in hand, but do they want to go back to Boston for a Game 7? Remember, the Bruins took 3 of 4 during the regular season including 5-1 and 6-3 at TD Garden.
The Maple Leafs haven’t made it past the 1st round since 2004, losing 2 of their past three playoff appearances in the conference quarterfinals to these Bruins. Both of those defeats came in a Game 7 so Toronto definitely wants to avoid that scenario again. They’ll need more from John Tavares who has just 8 shots the last 2 games. Auston Matthews has picked up the slack with 4 goals the past 3 games however. Frederik Andersen has been great in net, holding Boston to 2 goals or less in 3 of 5, but he’s also surrendered 9 goals total in the other two. It’s shaping up to be a good one on Sunday.
April 21st NHL Free Pick Betting
Both teams are going to be launching today – Toronto because they don’t want to go back to Boston and the Bruins because, well, they don’t want their season to end. Both goaltenders have the capability to neutralize the opposing offense today, but a better wager is that the adrenaline of the skaters in an elimination game trumps out. With an O/U on the low side, the play is the ‘over’
NHL Free Pick: Bruins / Maple Leafs *Over* 5.5