Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Picks: Potential Playoff Preview?

Apr 28, 2021 |
Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Picks: Potential Playoff Preview?
After sweeping a two-game set against Winnipeg, the Maple Leafs will look to keep rolling Wednesday in a potential first-round preview against the slumping Montreal Canadiens.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
After sweeping a two-game set against Winnipeg, the Maple Leafs will look to keep rolling Wednesday in a potential first-round preview against the slumping Montreal Canadiens.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Two Original Six teams will continue their rivalry Wednesday as the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Quebec to take on the Montreal Canadiens, who are holding onto the division’s final playoff spot.

Montreal is coming off a win Monday and hasn’t won consecutive games since April 1 as some poor offensive play has them running on fumes down the stretch.

Oddsmakers have Canadiens as a +135 NHL betting home dog with the total opening at 6 and trending to the Under.

Here are our free picks and predictions for Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens for Wednesday, April 28 (8:00 p.m. ET).

Maple Leafs vs Canadiens odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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NHL sharp money and line movement report

By Patrick Everson

Toronto opened as a -152 favorite Tuesday night at FanDuel and initially dropped to -146, then rose to -166 this afternoon. As of 5:30 p.m. ET, the Maple Leafs are -164 while grabbing 86 percent of moneyline bets and 92 percent of moneyline cash. The total opened at 6.5 (Under -130), dipped to 5.5 earlier today and is now 6.5 (Under -124), with 61 percent of bets/66 percent of money on the Over.

Check out the full line movement for this game

Maple Leafs at Canadiens betting preview

Injuries

Maple Leafs: Frederik Andersen G (Out), Zach Bogosian D (Out), Zach Hyman F (Out).
Canadiens: Carey Price G (Out), Brendan Gallagher F (Out), Paul Byron F (Questionable), Jonathan Drouin F (Questionable).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens.

Moneyline pick

The Leafs and Habs will meet for the sixth time this season with Toronto leading the season series 4-2 SU. Both teams will be without their starting goalies, as Carey Price and Frederik Andersen will not suit up.

Toronto has seemed to right the ship with a pair of victories after a four-game losing streak, while the Habs are coming off a much-needed win themselves Monday but haven't strung together consecutive wins since April 1.

Montreal beat the Flames 2-1 two nights ago in a game that could have dropped them to 1-5 SU in its last six if they had lost. Instead, the Canadiens and their struggling offense moved six points ahead of Calgary for the final playoff spot but their play over the last month (6-9 SU) has not inspired much confidence and there is still a slight possibility that they miss the postseason altogether.

With starter Price on the shelf, Montreal has leaned on goalie Jake Allen to mediocre results. Allen is 5-7 SU with a .907 save percentage, to go along with a 2.76 goals-against average, over the last two months. Allen has had to play near-perfect hockey to earn a win, as the veteran goalie is 1-9 SU when allowing three or more goals since Feb. 11.

Montreal has not been unlucky, just unable to create chances. The Canadiens own a league-averaging shooting percentage on the year (7.70 percent) and have a better mark since March 1 (8.65 percent) but are still scoring just 2.13 over their last 15 games—only three other teams are scoring fewer goals over that time.

A Bottom-10 power play and a 5-on-5 offense that is scoring just 1.6 even-strength goals per game is the major culprit for the poor offensive results.

The Leafs are coming off a playoff-style two-game series sweep against the Jets. Toronto has somehow turned into an aggressive team and this new mantra is coming at the perfect time for the playoffs. If Montreal was struggling to create chances against the Flames, a chippy and confident Toronto team with a new identity may be too much for a team just trying to hold on.

With this being a possible Round 1 match-up, Toronto will want to set the tone against a team that needs to wake up and has no answers for its goal drought. The favorite has won 20 of the last 27 match-ups and we’re rolling with the better team on Wednesday.

If the Leafs can get the PP going, the puck line is in play for the Buds. But with the extra-man struggles, we’re taking the Leafs in regulation instead as they’re still potting nearly three 5x5 goals per game this month.

PREDICTION: Toronto 3-way ML (+105)

Over/Under pick

The Canadiens have scored three or more goals just once in their last 12 games. It’s tough to take an Over when we aren’t expecting three from each team. There is a reason that the Habs are 6-3-1 to the Under in their last 10 and have hit the Over just eight times at home across 22 games.

With the Leafs playing Vancouver in Toronto on Thursday, de facto No. 1 netminder Jack Campbell should get the nod on Wednesday. The former backup goalie is 13-2-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .922 SV%. Campbell has hit a rough patch, however, after a historic 11-game winning streak but has found his groove again stopping 59 of 63 shots against the Jets in his most previous two starts.

Toronto leads the league in expected goals per game at 3.49, per Money Puck, but the power play has been non-existent over the last month—which is a head-scratcher considering the talent. The PP is three for its last 30 attempts in April and hasn’t scored in its last two matches. If you’re expecting to get some help with the Over from either of these teams’ power plays, you may be left disappointed.

The Leafs have not seen as many 6.5 totals of late compared to 2020 and the early parts of 2021. The books know that this isn’t a team that blows its opponents out anymore and has found success in eliminating chances against (4th in scoring chances against).

If Montreal plays as it has been, a 3-1 Toronto win would be our best bet for a final score.

PREDICTION: Under 6 (-115)

Maple Leafs vs Canadiens betting card

  • Toronto 3-way ML (+105)
  • Under 6 (-115)

Picks made on 4/28/2021 at 9:21 a.m. ET

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