Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds & Pick: Value on Montreal In Game 7 (May 31)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews.
- The Maple Leafs were up 3-1 over the Canadiens, but a stellar Montreal comeback has us at a Game 7.
- Neither team is particularly experienced in Game 7 scenarios, but Toronto is heavily favored to advance in the North Division.
- Carol Schram breaks down where she sees betting value in the Monday night matchup, delivering her analysis and best bet below.
Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-215|
|Over/Under||5.5 (+116 / -142)|
|Time||Monday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday afternoon and via FanDuel.|
It was supposed to be different this year. But once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs are facing a first-round Game 7 showdown.
For just the second time in NHL history, Canada’s two Original Six franchises will meet in a playoff Game 7 on Monday night. In the 1964 Stanley Cup Semifinals, Dave Keon scored a hat trick at the Montreal Forum to give the Leafs a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. They then went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings, also in seven games, and capture their third-straight Stanley Cup.
It has now been 17 years since the Leafs won a playoff series. But after the leafs shored up their blue line and added grit and experience to their roster this season, it was expected that they wouldn’t just cruise through the regular season; they’d come out of the North Division and take a real run at a championship.
Recovering well after captain John Tavares suffered a scary-looking injury in Game 1, the Leafs built a 3-1 series lead. They looked to be in full control of the series as they skated to an easy 4-0 victory in Game 4, but Montreal refused to roll over.
Channeling the Canadiens’ Cup-winning run in 1993, which featured a record-setting 10 overtime wins, youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi were the sudden-death heroes in Games 5 and 6, simultaneously ushering in a new era in Montreal while also nodding to the legacy of their franchise.
Now, the weight of expectations sits heavily on the shoulders of the Maple Leafs. Again. They’re still heavy favorites to advance. Is this the year that they deliver?
Canadiens Have the Experience Edge
There has been lots of talk all season about the experienced veterans on Toronto’s roster. But when it comes to Game 7s, don’t sleep on the Canadiens.
Two recent arrivals, defenseman Joel Edmundson and forward Eric Staal, are both 4-0 in Game 7 situations in their careers. Tyler Toffoli, who bumped his nine-game scoring drought with his first goal of the playoffs on Saturday, is 4-1.
Like Staal, Corey Perry is a member of the Triple Gold Club; They’ve both done a lot of winning in their careers. Perry is 3-5 in his eight Game 7s. The most recent came in the second round in the bubble last year, when his Dallas Stars eliminated the Colorado Avalanche in overtime.
Looking at the series as a whole, there’s only one statistic that skews in Montreal’s favor. But it’s a big one: Carey Price has delivered a high-danger save percentage of 87.76% in the series, while Jack Campbell’s at 85.71% for the Leafs.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.
Leafs Under Pressure
When it comes to Game 7 experience, Joe Thornton leads the way for Toronto. He has a 5-3 record, with four points. Most recently, his San Jose Sharks won two Game 7s in 2019 — that insane comeback from 3-0 down against the Vegas Golden Knights, then a second-round series against Colorado.
Only one other player on the Leafs’ roster has a Game 7 win on his resume. He’s 4-1, but he might not be available on Monday.
Going into Game 6, Jake Muzzin was second in total ice time among Leafs defensemen, behind only Morgan Rielly. He played 9:57 on Saturday before leaving the game midway through the second period with a lower-body injury.
Sheldon Keefe didn’t have an update on Muzzin’s status during his media availability on Sunday, but said he hadn’t been ruled out. If the gritty defenseman is unavailable for Game 7, it’s a big ask for Zach Bogosian and Travis Dermott to cover in his absence. And after struggling during his four playoff appearances so far, Rasmus Sandin would likely come back into the lineup.
One thing we do know: John Tavares is back on his feet, but he won’t be ready to suit up on Monday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
If you’re thinking about the over/under, history isn’t much help. According to the NHL, exactly 50% of Game 7s have been decided by one goal — and just under half of those outcomes came in overtime.
In the first six games of this series, four have gone under and two went over. But anything can happen in Game 7. We saw that in Vegas on Friday, when the Golden Knights exploded for a 6-2 win over Minnesota. That series also had just two games go over 5.5 goals before Game 7.
Overall, Toronto is 12-12 in Game 7s in franchise history, but hasn’t won one since 2004 — its last playoff series win, against Ottawa.
Montreal is 14-9 lifetime. Its last win came in its last Game 7 situation — in the second round in 2014, a 3-1 road win over the Boston Bruins.
Based on the odds, the Leafs have an implied win probability of more than 68% on Monday. But all the pressure is on Toronto and, in addition, the Leafs could be down a defenseman, or have Muzzin playing at less than 100%.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens have the momentum, and are now fuelled by the cheers of the 2,500 fans who watched them win on Saturday. With one more victory, they’ll get more of that sweet elixir, which they’ve been craving for the last 14 months.
If you’re feeling bold, there’s value in a bet on the Canadiens to win.
Pick: Canadiens +184 (play to +150)
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