NHL Pick: Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Series Odds & Picks

Swinging Johnson

Monday, April 29, 2013 7:46 PM GMT

Original Six members the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins square off in the opening round of the Stanley Cup starting Wednesday night at the Boston Garden.

Before placing your bets, let SBR's 'NHL Series Betting Prices: Sportsbook Futures Comparison' help you find the best NHL odds on offer. 

Toronto Maple Leafs (#5 Seed)

The Toronto Maple Leafs will make their first postseason appearance in nine years and the end of the drought could not come a moment too soon for the playoff starved fans of Toronto.  If it were not for the unexpected heroics of Nazem Kadri, the wait might have lasted at least another year longer.  Kadri secured a roster spot at the beginning of the season and has tallied 18 times along with his 26 assists.  Phil Kessel is still the perennial leader in points, notching 20 goals and 32 assists for a team leading 52 points.

Twenty-five-year-old James Reimer is looking to prove that he is ready for primetime when he steps between the pipes in Boston.  Reimer has done a solid job for the Leafs and has obviously inspired confidence from the Toronto brass who refused to trade for a more experienced goaltender for the postseason run.  However, it should be noted that Reimer's most recent appearance, a 4-1 loss to Montreal, provided little comfort to the fan faithful when he was pulled after allowing four goals to the Habs.

The Leafs will have to orchestrate slick plays and foster a run-and-gun mentality if they are to defeat the Bruins.  They are not a big, physical team but rather a club predicated on smooth passing and opportunistic scoring by the talented triumvirate of Kessel, Kadri and another young gun in James van Riemsdyk. 

Don't forget to check out our picks on the Red Wings vs. Ducks Series!

NHL Round 1 Series:  Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins

Original Six members the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins square off in the opening round of the Stanley Cup starting Wednesday night at the Boston Garden.

Toronto Maple Leafs (#5 Seed)

The Toronto Maple Leafs will make their first postseason appearance in nine years and the end of the drought could not come a moment too soon for the playoff starved fans of Toronto.  If it were not for the unexpected heroics of Nazem Kadri, the wait might have lasted at least another year longer.  Kadri secured a roster spot at the beginning of the season and has tallied 18 times along with his 26 assists.  Phil Kessel is still the perennial leader in points, notching 20 goals and 32 assists for a team leading 52 points.

Twenty-five-year-old James Reimer is looking to prove that he is ready for primetime when he steps between the pipes in Boston.  Reimer has done a solid job for the Leafs and has obviously inspired confidence from the Toronto brass who refused to trade for a more experienced goaltender for the postseason run.  However, it should be noted that Reimer's most recent appearance, a 4-1 loss to Montreal, provided little comfort to the fan faithful when he was pulled after allowing four goals to the Habs.

The Leafs will have to orchestrate slick plays and foster a run-and-gun mentality if they are to defeat the Bruins.  They are not a big, physical team but rather a club predicated on smooth passing and opportunistic scoring by the talented triumvirate of Kessel, Kadri and another young gun in James van Riemsdyk. 

Boston Bruins (#4 Seed)

If the Bruins come out flat like they did against the Ottawa Senators then this could be a very short series.  I attended that game and the lack of intensity was stunning, particularly with so much riding on the outcome.  The B's rallied after falling behind 2-0 but eventually fell short and plummeted from a potential 2nd seed to the 4th seed in a matter of hours.

If the Bruins are to defeat the Maple Leafs and contend for the Cup, then Milan Lucic will have to rekindle some of the magic that made many in Boston draw comparisons to the legendary Cam Neely.  Lucic is a big banger who will fight at the drop of a hat but paradoxically has the soft, feathery touch of a gifted goal scorer.  This season that touch has abandoned him and he's been lost in a funk that has manifested in only seven goals and 27 points on the season.

While the Bruins have relied on the silky smooth Patrice Bergeron and the uber pesky Brad Marchand to stimulate the offense, the blue line has been anchored by defensive stalwart Zdeno Chara.  A solid defense has been complemented by outstanding goaltending in the form of Tuukka Rask.  Rask and backup Anton Khudobin have made it difficult on opposing forwards to light the lamp this season.

And also don't forget to check out our Eastern Conference Playoffs Preview!

[gameodds]7/228265/43-349/us[/gameodds]

The Pick:

The Bruins are 3-1 versus the Maple Leafs in NHL picks this season and though Boston has faltered at the finish line, their bruising brand of hockey should be too much for the Maple Leafs to overcome.  While the on ice wizardry of Phil Kessel could be a problem for Boston, I believe that Zdeno Chara will make the diminutive, by comparison, center iceman pay every time he roams in front of the net. 

Though the Leafs may hold some value in the NHL odds, I don't feel there's enough there to warrant a wager on the underdog in this one.

Play the Boston Bruins to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in this NHL series.

Free Pick - Bet Boston at at Bet365.