NHL FREE PICKS
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NHL Picks: May 10
It’s no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs are under the microscope during this year’s Stanley Cup Playoff run. After 5 years of first-round exits for the core of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander (now add John Tavares), the entire hockey world is watching to see if they can perform under the pressure. Now being faced with what’s likely the toughest first-round matchup they’ve encountered in the two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Tampa Bay Lightning, the hurdle just got a little bit higher.
Through 4 games thus far, neither team has been able to hold an edge for more than one game consecutively. A commanding 5-0 Maple Leafs win to open the series, followed by a 5-3 loss where the team found themselves digging out of a 3-0 hole, to a dominant 5-2 road victory, and yet overshadowed by an embarrassing 7-3 loss that evened up the series 2-2.
Now heading back to Toronto for Game 5 of the series, the Maple Leafs will look to regain control in what now becomes a best-of-three. With the daunting statistic carried by Tampa’s starting goaltender of being 17-0 following a loss in the playoffs over the last three seasons, maintaining a lead in the series has become glaringly more important. Perhaps after the Game 4 loss, it could have happened at the exact right moment for this Toronto team to be awoken ahead of this best-of-three set with home-ice advantage.
A starting goaltender in Jack Campbell who was pulled in his worst game of the series (allowing 5 goals on 16 shots), and Captain John Tavares who faced public scrutiny after barely managing to put together 2 assists while being a -2 through four games, were the focal points of the team’s struggles following the loss, and both responded publicly.
“I haven’t been able to produce offensively as I’d like,” said Tavares following their Game 4 loss. “I would still like to create more.” Which leads me to believe that he’s going to come out with a fire underneath him for game 5, knowing that his teammates, the management, and the fans of the Maple Leafs are all looking at the $11 million dollar man to step up and live up to what we believed he could be when he signed here.
Mix together Tavares’ desperation after a lackluster performance through 4 games, Jack Campbell’s passion to play well for the guys in front of him, and home-ice advantage with the two-time Stanley Cup champions breathing down their necks, Scotiabank Arena and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be coming out ROCKING for Game 5 Tuesday night.
This is why I’ll be taking the Toronto Maple Leafs Moneyline (-125) at BetMGM
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