Bruins vs. Maple Leafs prediction: Slumping Boston still favored Wednesday

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs prediction: Slumping Boston still favored Wednesday
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For the first time all season, the Boston Bruins are in a slump. Well, at least their version of a slump.

The B’s have lost three games on the bounce and will head into Toronto looking to halt what is their only losing streak of the season. 

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, come into this game in the midst of a 5-1-1 stretch and could pull themselves within nine points of the Bruins in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.

The last night before NHL All-Star Weekend can be a tricky one to handicap, but this should be a great tilt between two of the best teams in the circuit. 

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs prediction (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Every team in the NHL will endure a few losing streaks throughout an 82-game season, so it speaks volumes about how well the Bruins have played that their first one comes days before the All-Star Break. 

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And it’s not like the Bruins have been losing to cupcakes, either. Boston lost to Tampa Bay, Florida (in overtime), and Carolina. Nothing to be ashamed of, at all.

Boston’s 5-on-5 numbers have dipped a little bit over the past 10 games, but overall the team ranks first in 5-on-5 goal differential, fifth in expected goals rate, and sixth in high-danger chance rate, so there’s very little reason to think that this stretch will turn into anything bigger based on their overall portfolio. 

Charlie Coyle
Charlie CoyleGetty Images

Additionally, the Bruins are so good at every other area of the game — they’re sixth on the power play, first on the penalty kill, and have the best save percentage in the league — that they don’t need to dominate at 5-on-5 to have success. They generally have more of the puck than their opponents, but they can win in other ways, too.

With five wins and 11 points in their last seven games, the Leafs should feel pretty good about where they’re at before the All-Star Break. That said, there are some exciting developments in Toronto. The defense is starting to show some cracks — they rank 27th in the NHL at preventing high-danger scoring chances over the last 10 games — and the Leafs will be without Auston Matthews for a while. 

Betting on the NHL?

The Leafs can still put up crooked numbers without Matthews, but his absence still looms large, and not just on offense. Matthews has turned into a strong two-way center over the last two seasons and losing the ability to match him against Patrice Bergeron does ding Toronto a bit in this matchup.

Toronto has been playing a pretty high-event style of hockey of late, and against most teams, that will suit them just fine, but Boston is a different beast and should have a solid chance of keeping the Leafs at bay in this tilt. The Bruins are worth a shot here as a slight road favorite.

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs pick

Bruins -120 (BetMGM)