With only about a week to go in the NHL regular season, there are many teams that are going to be treating them like playoff games. The Leafs most definitely aren’t one of them. The Bruins on the other hand are looking to make the playoffs a year after they were the best team in the regular season. That didn’t result in a Stanley Cup for them, so maybe playing as the last seed will produce a different result. I wouldn’t want to draw them in the first round as a number 1 seed. I don’t see it as much of a reward, as the Bruins have experience, and they have a goalie that can get hot. A hot goalie will bring a team far and a cold goalie will take a team down. Tuukka Rask has not had the kind of season he was looking, it was a down year for him. The former Toronto Maple Leafs product, Rask, holds a 2.30 GAA prior to heading into tonights game. That may seem decent, but not for Rask. To put things in perspective, last year he had a 2.04 GAA and the year before 2.00. However, we already know he has the potential to catch fire, so it isn’t going to be a cake walk for the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference this season.
The Leafs checked out several months ago and are just going through the motions until next week. I know there are a lot of guys on the Leafs that have been looking forward to that day for awhile. Remember in school when you counted down the days until summer vacation, yeah, that is a lot like this. The Leafs aren’t going to be getting a good report card for this season, and the roster may look drastically different in September. They have a lot of work ahead of them in the draft, and they have a lot of work ahead of them working free agency. Brandon Shanahan knows he has a lot of hard decisions coming his way soon. A couple weeks ago the Leafs failed to sellout a game, the first time in a very long time. That is the kind of thing that will get the attention of the Leafs’ organization. Lets call it for what it is, all they care about is money. The minute the ACC isn’t filled to the rafters, is the moment that something will be done about the product on the ice. As far as tonight is concerned, there is only one team that is playing for something worthwhile.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Boston Bruins
Needing to win does not always actually result in a win. We have seen it happen before at the worst possible time for teams. What seems like an easy win due to the winability of the game against an inferior opponent, often ends up being a loss. The Bruins can’t take the Leafs lightly and with the race they are in for the playoffs against the Sens and Red Wings I don’t think we are going to see them take the night off. Yes, the Wings are now fighting for a playoff spot after it looked like they were going to cruise in. The Bruins and Wings both have 93 points, tied for the 7th seed, while the Senators are behind with 90 points. Ultra important game for the Bruins tonight. The Bruins are winners of four straight games. It got started against the New York Rangers and then they followed it up with huge wins over the Panthers, and then most recently the Detroit Red Wings.
As logic has it, the Bruins are destined to lose tonight against the Leafs. Beat the best team in the NHL and then lose to one of the worst tonight. I don’t think that is going to happen, and I think we will be watching the Bruins in the playoffs shortly. I typically write a lot of quantitative based write-ups with lots of statistics, but there are times where you have to go with your gut. Tonight I expect another focused effort out of the Bruins on Hockey Night in Canada at home. Too much juice for me on the ML, unless you want to parlay it with something, but instead I’ll take them at -1.5.
PICK: BRUINS -1.5 (+100) 5DIMES.EU – BEST ODDS