We enter a huge Saturday evening slate of games a solid 7-4 with our featured selections here at the Sports Geek. After a hot start, we’ve tailed off a bit of late but feel confident in tonight’s selection featuring an Original Six match-up between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Boston Bruins (-135) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (+115)
Truthfully, I’m surprised the Bruins enter this contest such minimal of favourites. They’re not dealing with the injury issues of Toronto, and have been simply rolling thus far in 2013. After a brief hiccup Thursday night against the Sabres, head coach Claude Julien ripped into his group, and will have them focused and ready for a huge trip into the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
Boston simply destroyed the Leafs in the season series in 2012. They won all six games, out-scoring the Buds by a score of 36-10. If that’s not domination, I don’t know what is. The Bruins play a rough and tumble style of game that gives a butter-soft Leafs’ defense fits. While Toronto has solidified somewhat under new head coach Randy Carlyle, their defensive corps will be no match for the big and skilled forwards of the Boston Bruins.
This contest will also mark the first time Phil Kessel, Dougie Hamilton, and Tyler Seguin are all on the ice together. Kessel of course was traded from the Bruins to the Leafs back in 2009 for two first-round draft picks. The Bruins then took the highly touted Seguin and Hamilton to supplement their already stacked line-up, and both players have already proven more effective than Kessel this season. Kessel is struggling mightily in 2013, still mired in a slump that has yet to grant him with a goal. The Leafs’ best forward traditionally shies away from playing the Bruins and has struggled in recent seasons against his old team.
Expect a much better and much improved Bruins team from how they looked on Saturday night. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will blanket the Leafs’ top-line and Toronto will have little opportunity to get anything going offensively. These two teams are in entirely different echelons, and look for the Bruins to embarrass the Leafs in front of their hometown crowd on Saturday.
PICK = Boston (-135)