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NHL Free Pick | Canadiens at Maple Leafs

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The Canadiens-Maple Leafs first-round playoff series didnít start until Thursday. Thatís fine since the two teams have been waiting 54 years to play each other in the NHL postseason.
Thatís right. Two of the Original Six of the NHL have not met in a Stanley Cup playoffs since 1967. Toronto got the better of Montreal and won its last Stanley Cup that year. Could the Maple Leafs win it all this year?
They have to get past Montreal first. Saturday, the two teams meet in Game 2 of the series.


ARE YOU READY FOR THE 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS?


Game: Montreal Canadiens (24-21-11, 24-32 ATS) at Toronto Maple Leafs (35-14-7, 22-34 ATS)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, May 22, 2021
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Current Line: OFF Total: OFF
TV Coverage: CNBC


Recent History
Getting past the Canadiens shouldnít be all that difficult for Toronto, which beat Montreal in seven of ten games this season. The Leafs went 4-1 against the Habs at home where they were 18-7-3 for the season.

Toronto has one of the deepest lineups in all of hockey. Mitchell Marner (67 pts) and Auston Matthews (66) are two of the top scorers in the NHL. Matthews led the league in goals with 41.
Centermen John Tavares and William Nylander are also very capable scorers. Tavares totaled 50 points and Nylander had 42 during the regular season.
Interestingly, Montreal has the worst winning percentage of all 16 playoff teams. The Canadiensí 24 wins during the regular season was fewer than the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Calgary Flames. All three of those teams failed to make the postseason.
In addition, the Habs scratched 2018 second-round draft pick Alexander Romanov, 2019 first-round pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and 2020 first-rounder Cole Caufield.
Coach nailed his last pick when he took the Caps in game 1. Go check out his Bruins at Capitals free pick.


Heavy Favorites

With the Leafs a -200 favorite to win Game 1, itís likely Toronto heads into Game 2 on Saturday with a 1-0 series lead. Even though it has been a while, Toronto is 3-0 SU when hosting a playoff series Game 1 against Montreal. With these odds, it can be tough to make money betting NHL playoff hockey.


Going into Game 2, it is likely Toronto will be favored once again. The Leafs have been favorites of -200, -220, and -230 in the last three meetings with the Canadiens. The question in Game 2 isnít whether Toronto will win, itís can they cover?
For the season, Toronto was just 22-34 ATS. Against Montreal, the Maple Leafs covered in four of ten games. In the five home games against the Habs, Toronto was just 1-4 ATS.

Canadiens at Maple Leafs Free Pick

Faced with the task of going down 2-0 to the best team in the North Division, Montreal is going to have to put up a fight in Game 2. Donít expect players like Caufield to be a healthy scratch in Game 2 either.
After finishing at Wisconsin and joining Montreal, Caufield scored four goals and had five assists in 10 games with the Canadiens. Thatís the type of production Montreal will need in an attempt to avoid a 2-0 series start.
Montreal may also have a healthy Carey Price back in net. Price suffered a concussion last month and he is listed as probable for Thursdayís Game 1.


Now, while all signs point to a Maple Leafs win, look for Montreal to cover in Game 2.
NHL CANADIENS AT MAPLE LEAFS FREE PICK: MONTREAL +1.5
Pick by Coach Rick
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