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Bruins vs Maple Leafs First Round Playoff Series Preview

Here at Last Word, we will preview and review all of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. In every series we try to give at least three very important articles throughout the series lifelength. Will the Toronto Maple Leafs raise Lord Stanley’s Holy Grail in 2024? One thing is for sure, it will be much easier with their first-round opponents the Boston Bruins kept at bay. The Bruins are an extremely successfully proud franchise. Furthermore, ever since Patrice Bergeron arrived on the scene, the Bruins have been very tough to beat. That’s going back 20 years. So, who will win in one seven-game series?  If we take a deep dive into the odds for Toronto and Boston, the Athletic provided a different angle. However, it would ultimately guide in building parlays, understanding the outcomes in each game throughout the series. Provided in the table by The Athletic are the probabilities for each team’s chance of winning after each of the possible endgames. As well the top row is the cumulative probability for each team’s chances at victory. Let’s get it!

Scenario BOS TOR
Total 53 47
4 – Games 7 6
5 – Games 14 11
6 – Games 14 17
7 – Games 18 14

For Toronto and Boston Odds and Predictions Let’s Start with a Review of the Season Series

Leaf fans don’t want to hear about the season series recap against the Boston Bruins. However, when you break it down or look at individual performances, Leafs fans do have something to cheer about. In the four games, Mitch Marner totalled a goal and six assists. In addition, in the last two early March games, which the Bruins won 4-1 both times, goaltender Jeremy Swayman played exceptionally well. Combined from the two games, he posted a wall-like .968 SV%. That is to say, the 4-0 season series record doesn’t truly reflect the tightness of the games. The first game went to a shootout, and the second went to overtime. In the overtime game, William Nylander blew a tire, leading to a very late Brad Marchand open-netter. The final two meetings saw the Leafs outplay the Bruins overall, despite falling behind early in both contests. If the Leafs are to have takeaways from the regular season matchups, it is don’t take any shifts off against Boston, especially early on. You know all too well, the Bruins won’t be taking shifts off against the likes of 69-goal man Auston Matthews or Nylander.

Keys to Leaf Victory

What Will the Leafs Absolutely Need to Do to Win Round One vs the Bruins

Ultimately, what does Toronto need to do to win and raise their odds against Boston? Well, whoever is in net for the Bruins, which sounds like Linus Ullmark to start game one, get in his grill. This is the playoffs, yes, Matthews will score. But the Leafs grit is going to have to grind. Tyler Bertuzzi is going to have to make friends with Linus. Max Domi needs to assert himself down low and set up his snipers on one-tees. But, and it is a big one, discipline and stay out of the box. You can’t give David Pastrnak a chance to get any rhythm, or it will be a quick round-one series. One further point is the defence needs to play tight. Even if they get down early, they can’t get away from their game.

Now What Are the Boston Bruins Keys to Victory

In order for the Bruins to get past the Leafs in round one, they need to play their game. Boston is a well-structured group, that continues to wear you down until they find holes. Furthermore, their offensive attack is very steady. Guys like Charlie Coyle or Danton Heinen chip in when you least expect it. They don’t bring high-end offence, but the Bruins had 18 players score between 10 and 67 points this year. Like we say, very steady. And their players are all very defensively responsible under Head Coach Jim Montgomery. Their keys to victory will be physical and wearing down the Leafs offensive players. The Bruins always come ready to play, and if they continue the trend from the season series, they will continue to score early. If Boston can get goals from anywhere in the lineup, and their goaltending steals them a game or two, they should take the series.

So Who Are the Odds-On-Favourite Between Toronto and Boston?

The results do reflect that from the original table in The Athletic. The Boston Bruins are favourites to win the opening round series, at around -120 according to BET365. However, in terms of a prediction, the Leafs are built to win. As long as their defence and goaltending plays like they can, they can beat the Bruins. Look for the slight edge in Game Six towards the Leafs to prevail and win the series. In terms of offensively, taking the overs on either Matthews or Pastrnak are safe plays. Also, for the Leafs, look for Bertuzzi to continue his hot play into the playoffs. The goaltending, on both sides, will be hugely influential in this series. Look for the Bruins backstoppers to steal at least a game or two.

Prediction: Leafs take the series 4-2.

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Main photo: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


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