While most people thought they tuck the Leafs in and put them to bed, the Bruins received quite the rude awakening. The Leafs upended Boston to force Game 6 but can they finally win on their home ice to extend the series to Game 7?
The Boston Bruins can win because…
Toronto has not played well at home in this series. So far, this series has been all about the road warriors as the road team has won four of the five games.
People making their NHL picks should be cautious in backing the Leafs in Game 6. Boston actually outplayed Toronto in Game 5 in the second and third period, but showed up completely asleep for the first. That turned out to be the difference. James Reimer stood on his head but it’s unlikely that he does so again if the Bruins keep peppering him with shots.
They’ve put a lot of volume on net this series, averaging 42 shots per game. In the first four games, doing that netted them 15 goals. In Game 5, it only netted them one. If they shoot that much again, they should get to at least three, which should be enough to earn the win.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can win because…
This is a young team that’s gaining confidence. Playoff hockey is a relatively new concept to a lot of young Maple Leafs but you can clearly see that as the series progresses, the Bruins edge in experience becomes smaller and smaller. Players like Reimer, Gardiner and van Riemsdyk are growing stronger by the game.
The Leafs were under a lot of pressure in their first two games at home. They played tight and scared, and feared going down 3-1. That’s exactly what happened but in Game 5, this team played with a reckless abandon – almost relieved to have no expectations – and that should carry over into Game 6. Most NHL odds makers already read this team their last rites, so they should be able to just relax and focus on having some fun this Sunday.
Outlook & Pick
Toronto is going to be a tough out but I think Boston gets the job done. They are averaging 42 shots per game and I don’t see Reimer being able to stand on his head two games in a row. In the other games this series, he was a liability. In the regular season, Reimer had a much higher GAA at home (2.72) than on the road (2.18) and that trend has continued in this series. Reimer has given up nine goals in the two games at the Air Canada Centre compared to just seven goals in the three games in Boston. Look for Reimer to be the main reason why the Bruins advance.
Pick: Bruins -130 at Bet 365
[gameodds]7/236071/43-349-192/us[/gameodds]Check out my pick on the earliest game, the Capitals vs. Rangers~