Free NHL Hockey Prediction: Leafs vs. Canadiens NHL Odds
Looking for Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens free hockey plays & NHL Odds? NHL betting sees the Leafs taking on the Habs on Monday, May 31st, 2021 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Cappers Picks provides complimentary expert handicapping picks on all NHL Hockey games all season long so stay tuned for more FREE daily NHL hockey predictions like this Leafs Habs matchup.
NHL Handicapping Analysis
(35-14-7) (3-3) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens (3-3) (24-21-11)
Date: Monday, May 31st, 2021
Time: 7:00pm ET
Venue: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto
NHL Hockey Moneyline Odds: Leafs -175 Canadiens +135
NHL Hockey Puck Line Odds: Leafs -1.5 +160 Canadiens +1.5 -195
NHL Betting Total: 5.5
Monday Night will bring us game 7 between two teams at the centre of a timeless hockey rivalry. The Leafs had a 3-1 stranglehold on this series, but Montreal has clawed back to tie it with two consecutive overtime wins. Suddenly we have a series!
Toronto Maple Leafs
The idea of a game 7 in the first round of the play-offs is stress inducing to approximately 100% of leafs fans. Toronto has lost the last 7 games where they have had the chance to close out a series with a win. This streak started in 2013 when the leafs blew a 4-1 lead in the third period in game 7 against the Bruins.
This Leafs team looks very different from those 2013 Leafs, in fact there is not a single player left from that 2013 game 7 roster, yet the collapse still seems to haunt the franchise.
The Leafs lost game 7 in 2018 against Boston. They lost game 6 and 7 in 2019 against Boston again. Then in 2020, they lost game 5 against Columbus. (Play in rounds were best of 5 series) Now they have lost two straight to Montreal when they had the chance to win the series and move on.
My point in telling you all of this is that the Leafs have a serious problem when it comes to closing out a series. You can take their regular season success and throw it in the garbage. It means nothing for these play-offs. They can still win this series, but they will have to overcome the mental block that definitely exists within the team.
In previous play-off appearances, the argument could be made that the Leafs were the better team, but goaltending held them back. This year no such argument can be made. Jack Campbell has a .937 save percentage so far in these play-offs. He single-handedly willed his team into overtime in Game 6, but the Leafs forward group just couldn’t get it done.
Speaking of the forwards, the group is extremely top heavy and as a result, when the stars don’t perform, things go badly. Marner and Matthews have a combined 8 points so far in 6 games. Montreal has done an excellent job of keeping them contained, but I have to think that the pressure to perform is a contributing factor to their underwhelming play.
To support this theory, look no further than game 6. Toronto was down 1-0 and on the Penalty kill. Marner, with all the time and space in the world, flips the puck clean over the glass resulting in a delay of game call, and a 5 on 3 power-play for over a minute and a half on which the Habs would score. Marner has taken 6 penalties in his play-off career and a shocking 5 of them have come from sending the puck over the glass.
The Leafs need to calm down and get back to their game. They have a short time to do it, so we’ll see if they come ready to play game 7.
The Montreal Canadiens have got to be feeling good about themselves. Down 3-1 in the series after four games only to come roaring back with two overtime winners. Scored by young stars Suzuki and Kotkaniemi no less. However, the entire Habs line up has been playing up to their potential.
Joel Armia and Tyler Toffoli lead the way with four points each. four points is underwhelming for a leading scorer, but the Habs strength comes from timely scoring and a strong defensive game that every roster player seems to have bought into.
In addition to this team wide buy-in, Montreal proved last season that they had what it took to win. The Habs were on track to miss the play-offs in 2020, but because of the pandemic shortened season the top 24 teams were allowed to compete for a spot in the play-offs. Shockingly, the 24th seeded Habs pulled off an upset against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. They would fall soon after in round one, but that success is significant for the team.
A key part of that best of 5 series win against Pittsburgh was Carey Price, who has again been excellent for the Habs. Price has a .926 save percentage through 6 games, which is notably worse than Jack Campbell at the other end of the ice, but Price has been lights out when Montreal needed him most. Particularly in the overtime period of game 6.
There is no doubt that the Habs are an exciting team to watch, but on paper the series should not be this close. While Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, and Caufield are excellent prospects, they are still young and not yet fully developed. Hockey is an unpredictable game, and anything can happen in game 7, but I have to admit I do not have full confidence in this Montreal team yet either. They simply don’t have the offensive reliability. Either way game 7 should be a very exciting event.
NHL Betting Trends
- Toronto are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Toronto’s last 9 games against Montreal.
- Toronto are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games at home.
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Montreal’s last 5 games.
- Montreal are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games.
- Montreal are 2-5 SU in their last 7 games against Toronto.
Free Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens NHL Prediction:
Going into this series, the Leafs were the heavy favourites- and rightfully so. On paper they are the better team. In fact, I think they’ll probably still win the series. With the odds not totally representing the logical outcome, it’s tempting to take the moneyline on the Leafs, but I won’t be making that bet. The team has not yet proven that they’ve sorted out the issues between their ears. I’m calling the total to be under 5.5 instead. Good luck!
4* Free NHL Betting Pick: Under 5.5 -122
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