Toronto Maple Leafs (38-15-8) at Montreal Canadiens (26-24-11)
The Canadiens avoided elimination with a thrilling OT win over the Maple Leafs in the last game, but they are still down 3-2 in the series and have to win this home game to force a Game 7 in Toronto.
Even on the road the Maple Leafs are the betting favorite in this game posted at -160 with the Canadiens at +140 and a total of 5.5 goals.
The Canadiens stayed alive in this series with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 5. After winning Game 1 Montreal lost the next three games where they were outscored 11-2. They have lost both home games this series where they only scored one goal.
The road team has won four of the five games in this series.
The Maple Leafs failed to close out this series on home ice and look to do it in Montreal where they have won both games in this series and their last three overall. They may get star John Tavares (50 points this season) back after he suffered a nasty concussion in Game 1 of this series.
The Canadiens have only won three of their last 11 home games where they were the underdog.
Can’t Finish the Comeback
It looked as if the Maple Leafs had a golden opportunity to close out this series in Game 5 coming back from a three goal deficit but gave up the game-winner only 59 seconds into the extra period.
Jake Muzzin scored twice and Zach Hyman also tickled the twine in the losing effort where they outshot the Canadiens 35-30. Muzzin is a defenseman that only scored four goals in the regular season.
Austin Matthews led the NHL this season with 41 goals and he has one goal in this series and none in the last three games.
Jack Campbell (17-3-2 2.15 GAA), who has a GAA of 1.61 in this series, gave up four goals on 30 shots and he had only given up four goals in the previous four games of the series. He has started every game in this series and he will likely get the start in Game 6.
William Nylander has had a great series with seven points (3 goals 4 assists). He scored a goal in each of the first four games and while he did not in the Game 5 loss he had two assists.
Toronto’s needs to get back to great defense in this game, as they gave up four goals in Game 5 while in the other four games only gave up four goals.
Can the Fans Help?
Down 3-2 in this series the Canadiens need all the help they can get, and they may get it from their fans in this game. The Quebec government will allow 2,500 fans in the Bell Centre for Game 5 and it is the first game where fans have been allowed to attend in Canada since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Game 5 win the Canadiens’ finally showed some offense after only scoring four goals in the first four games. Nick Suzuki saved the day scoring the game-winner in OT after Montreal blew a 3-0 lead.
In the win in the last game Joel Armia had two goals, Jesperi Kotkaniemi lit the lamp and Carey Price turned away 32 of 35 shots.
Price 12-7-5 2.64 GAA regular season) has a GAA of 2.66 in the playoffs and he has given up three goals in each of his last two starts. Look for him to start Game 6, as he has been in between the pipes in every game in this series.
Joel Armia, Suzuki, and Kotkaniemi all have two goals in the series to lead Montreal. In the regular season Tyler Toffoli led the team in points (44) and goals (28) and while he has two assists in this series he has not lit the lamp.
The Maple Leafs have won five of their last seven road games against the Canadiens and outscored them 6-1 in winning both games of this series in Montreal. They almost came back from the last game before losing in OT, but this game will not be the same. They will come out firing from the get-go and their attack will not be stopped. They will also play good defense like they did in the first four games of this series where they only allowed four goals. Toronto will show why they were the top team in the North this season with a convincing win over the Canadiens to close out this series.
PICK: Maple Leafs -160