Bruins vs. Maple Leafs NHL Picks & Predictions

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, December 8, 2013 2:42 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013 2:42 PM UTC

The Maple Leafs host the Bruins at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Where does the value lie for this Sunday matchup?

According to current NHL betting odds the Bruins are a -145 money line road favorite and the posted total is 5.0. These two clubs met in the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals a season ago with the Bruins winning in 7-games. Boston has defeated Toronto in 35 of their last 51 meetings, and has won 6 of the last 8 played in Toronto. These teams have seen just 2 of their last 9 meetings stay under the total.

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Stanley Cup or Bust

There’s no denying that this Bruins team will be one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. They have scoring depth, outstanding defensemen, and a terrific #1 goaltender in Tuukka Rask. Claude Julien is a seasoned head coach that led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals a season ago, before falling to the Blackhawks in a classic 6-game series. The Bruins possess a perfect blend of youth, veteran leadership, finesse, and physicality. Anything short of a Stanley Cup this season will be viewed as a disappointment.

The Beat Goes On

The Bruins come off a dramatic come from behind 3-2 home win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Trailing 2-1 late in the 3rd period, David Krejci tied the game with 1:29 to go in the 3rd period, and then Zdeno Chara tallied the game winner with just 0:13 to go in regulation time. The Toronto Maple Leafs must be having déjà vu when reviewing the tape in preparation for tonight’s game. The Bruins came back from a 4-1 third period deficit to beat the Leafs in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals a season ago.

The Bruins Itinerary

It’s likely that backup goaltender Chad Johnson will be between the pipes versus Toronto this evening. Johnson has performed well in his 5 previous starts going 4-1, and posting an excellent 1.97 GAA. This will be the Bruins 3rd game in the last 4-days. This will also be their first of a 4-game in 7-day road trip. Boston is a solid 6-5 on the road this season. Boston is just 2-7 in their last 9 when playing their 3rd game in 4-days, and have seen just 8 of their last 34-games stay under the total in that exact situation.

Getting Back on Track

After sustaining a long dry spell the Leafs have won 2 in a row after last night’s 4-3 win at Ottawa. The victory didn’t come without some high anxiety. Toronto squandered a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period, and allowed Ottawa to tie the game. The Leafs then proceeded to win the game in an overtime shootout to secure the 2-points. The win moved the Leafs 1-point behind the 4th place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Toronto is 6th overall in the Eastern Conference heading into tonight.

The Leafs Itinerary

This will be the Leafs 3rd game in the last 4-days. They’ve gone 23-49 in their last 72-games, and have gone over the total in 6 of their last 7, when playing in that exact aforementioned situation. Following tonight’s game the Leafs will host the Los Angeles Kings at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night. Take Toronto over Boston for your free NHL pick.

NHL Pick: Toronto +125 over Boston

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