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NHL Free Pick: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

NHL: Boston vs Toronto Pick

NHL action on Saturday night will feature a game between the Boston Bruins (4-5-0) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (3-3-1) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back in often.

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Boston vs. Toronto
When: Saturday, Oct 25 2014 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
TV: CBC
NHL ATS Gambling Line: Bruins -1.5
NHL O/U Line: 5.5
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Two original six foes will tangle on Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada when longtime rivals Boston and Toronto lock up in an Atlantic Division match up.

Neither team has had a start to write home about thus far and sit outside of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. This is the first meeting between the two this year, in a match up that has long favoured the Bruins. The Leafs have shown some push back recently however, and won the last two games that they met a season ago.

Bruins

This Bruins team is not the same one that we’ve come to know in the past four or five years. They are not the stingy defensive side that they once were, as is evidenced by their 23 goals allowed in nine games and -1 goal differential. Part of the reason for that negative number in the differential department can be attributed to a complete lack of scoring punch out of the gate.

Starting the season without first line centre David Krejci was a major setback and this team only found the net four times in their first four games. The offense has found its stride to some extent lately in wins over the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks (4-0 and 5-3 respectively). The B’s were dealt a big blow on Thursday night, losing defenseman Zdeno Chara to a knee injury against the Islanders, a game they lost 3-2.

With Johnny Boychuk leaving before this season, and now losing Chara, this defense is a skeleton of what it once was coming into Saturday’s contest. Young d-men like Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug are going to have to step up in a big way, along with long time blueliner Dennis Seidenberg.

Maple Leafs

It’s been a bit of a weird start for the Leafs. Sure no one pegged them to be a force in the East, and they’re right about where people would have them at 12th in the East, but this is a team that has been known to start the season on a tear then peter off around January.

It’s been a two sided team to this point, with big wins over the Rangers and Islanders, mixed in with ugly losses to the Penguins and Red Wings. As this team’s top line goes, so goes the team. Phil Kessel has been much better against the Bruins lately than when he first joined Toronto, and he will be happy not to have Zdeno Chara draped on him all night. If the top line gets rolling against the Bruins, Toronto has a very good chance to walk out with two points.

As mentioned, Kessel has found ways to pick up his game against his former club, and it seems like any time he gets a shift without Chara on the ice he makes something happen.

Jonathan Bernier has been solid in the Leafs net his last two outings and is likely to get the call Saturday night against one of the league’s top netminders in Tuukka Rask who will be across the rink from him.

Bruins vs. Leafs 4* Free Pick

The 1.5 goal spread is tricky here. Boston is very hamstrung on defense and they’ve shown that they have a tough time with good skating teams like Montreal and the Islanders.

The Leafs are fast and will look to utilize their team speed to keep the Bruins’ defense off balance in the absence of their captain. It’s going to be very much on Boston’s forwards to keep the Leafs hemmed in and neutralize their speed game, but I don’t think they’ve got enough to win by two.

Go with the Leafs in this one, that I think will go to OT.

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.


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