Montreal Canadians right winger Brendan Gallagher(11), who scored the game-winning goal, celebrates with goaltender Carey Price(31) after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Toronto, Canada. (AP Photo/Peter Power)
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are -205 home favorites over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their Stanley Cup North Division semifinal on Monday, May 31st
- The Leafs are 0-7 straight up in their last seven close-out games of a playoff series
- Montreal is 5-1 SU in its last six Game 7 scenarios
A couple of games ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs looked to be home and cooled out in their playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. Suddenly, they find themselves yet again facing a win-or-go-home scenario and with it, the ghosts of playoff failures past.
Toronto’s back-to-back overtime losses to the Habs are bringing both teams back to Scotiabank Centre for Game 7 of this Stanley North Division semifinal series on Monday. It’s also bringing up Toronto’s disturbing lack of success in closing out postseason series.
Still, even though the Leafs are 0-4 straight up in their last four win-or-go-home playoff games, oddsmakers are setting Toronto as solid -205 home favorites to beat the Canadiens and move on to face the Winnipeg Jets in the North Division final.
Canadiens vs Maple Leafs Game 7 Odds
|Player||Moneyline||Spread at DraftKings||Total|
|Montreal Canadiens||+175||+1.5 (-150)||O 5.5 (+114)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-205||-1.5 (+125)||U 5.5 (-137)|
Odds as of May 30th
Game time Monday is 7pm ET at the Scotiabank Centre. The broadcast is being carried by CNBC.
Depending on which team’s playoff history you peruse, Game 7 is either a lucky number or a nightmare digit. Including last season’s Game 5 loss to Columbus in a best-of-five series, the Leafs are 0-7 in their last seven series closeout games.
Toronto’s most recent Game 7 win came in the club’s last playoff series triumph – a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the opening round of the 2004 postseason. Interestingly, that was also the last Game 7 to feature two Canadian NHL teams prior to this one.
Montreal, on the other hand, thrives in the pressure-packed environment of Game 7. The Habs have won five of the past six Game 7s.
Head-to-head, it’s advantage Toronto. Though these teams have met in 16 playoff series, this is just the second Game 7. The Leafs won Game 7 of the 1964 semifinals at the Montreal Forum by a 3-1 count.
Leafs’ Big Guns Firing Blanks
Toronto’s young guns of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner need to work on their target practice. They’ve combined for one goal by Matthews on 49 shots during the series.
I know he played well in OT But Matthews has to step up in Game 7 Same with Marner #Leafs
— steve buffery (@Beezersun) May 30, 2021
During the regular season, Matthews won the Rocket Richard Trophy winner with an NHL-leading 41 goals. Marner led the Leafs and was fourth in the NHL with 67 points. Matthews’ 66 points were fifth in the league.
Over two previous Game 7s, Marner posted one assist. Matthews was held pointless.
2021 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Canadiens’ Kids Coming Through
The kids are doing alright for the Canadiens. Second-year center Nick Suzuki scored the Game 5 overtime win, finishing off a 2-on-0 break by converting a feed from rookie forward Cole Caufield.
NHL centers’ playoff goals before age 21:
Kotkaniemi – 7 (and counting)
McDavid – 5
Matthews – 5
Yzerman – 5
Messier – 3
Beliveau – 0
Mario – 0
Dionne – 0
Espo – 0
Sakic – 0
Malkin – 0
Francis – 0
Sundin – 0
— Grant McCagg (@grantmccagg) May 30, 2021
In Game 6, the OT hero was third-year center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. His tally was the seventh goal by the 20-year-old Finn in 15 Stanley Cup games.
Both Kotkaniemi and Caufield were healthy scratches to start the series. Kotkaniemi sat out Game 1, while Caufield didn’t play until Game 3.
Maple Leafs forward Nick Foligno returned to action in Game 6 after missing three games with a lower-body injury. He had three shots, three hits, and was plus-1 in 18:37 of ice time.
The Leafs lost Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin during the second period of Game 6 because of a lower-body injury. Muzzin appeared to pull a groin while racing to get back on a play. He’ll undergo further tests and hasn’t been ruled out for Game 7. Leafs center John Tavares (knee, concussion) hasn’t played since Game 1.
Here is what took Muzzin out. Looks like he pulled something pic.twitter.com/hWWYh1CFCZ
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 30, 2021
Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen (upper-body injury) hasn’t played since Game 3. Forward Tomas Tatar (lower-body injury) has missed the last two games. He’s listed as day-to-day.
Montreal defenseman Jon Merrill (undisclosed) missed Game 6 and is expected to be out 1-2 weeks. Brett Kulak slotted into his spot for Saturday’s game. Canadiens forward Jake Evans (undisclosed) returned to the lineup for Game 6. He’d been out since Game 1.
Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs (-205)
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An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.