Stanley Cup Playoffs: Friday Night NHL Preview

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Lindsay Van Gyn

April 19th, 2019

The Maple Leafs hope to shake the Drake curse in Boston, while the Bruins try to tighten up their performance and will look to take the lead over Toronto. Calgary's top players are nowhere to be found, as the Avalanche starts to melt the Flames' hope of winning the series.

I wish Toronto fans would be more accountable for their team. The Canadian internet lit up, playing the Drake blame game, after the Maple Leafs’ 6-4 loss to the Bruins on Wednesday night. Yes, Drake has a pretty incredible record of showing up at games only to have a solid team crumble, but it's not entirely his fault.

This is the ninth straight time the Leafs have lost in Game 4 when they were up 2-1, and they have this pesky issue with their inability to kill penalties. This has been following them around all season, leaving them the third worst in the league.

In Wednesday's game the Bruins looked vulnerable and the Leafs were at home, so this should have gone the other way, but Boston had the intensity, and the Leafs couldn't seem to match it. Toronto had some serious lapses in discipline and looked sloppy. They spent the game, first digging themselves out of the hole, then chasing the Bruins for the rest of the game.

David Pastrnak put in two goals just 1:35 apart and Zdeno Chara became the oldest player in league history to score a playoff goal (Toronto, you're being bested by a senior citizen, get it together). Boston's defense was locked in against a potent Toronto offense, muscled through without ever letting up, and that's why they won. The Bruins are now heading back to Causeway Street with a clean slate instead of a deficit. This is problematic for the Leafs, who have a tendency to choke.

Toronto is 6-1 in their last seven when their opponents have scored five or more goals in their previous game, and the Bruins are 6-1 in their last seven as a favorite of -201 or higher.

Toronto will have to come roaring back to mitigate a loss but I'm not counting on them. Psychology plays a factor with this team, and if they can't get out of their own heads, they're doomed. The Bruins will take this 3-2.

As for the other game Friday night, I'll admit it: I grossly underestimated the Colorado Avalanche, and now they lead the series 3-1 against the Flames. Tomorrow night's game may seal the deal for the Avalanche, unless Calgary decides it's time to play real playoff hockey.

Colorado is a speedy and confident team, and it has depth, while Calgary's top players are nowhere to be found. Calgary goaltender Mike Smith and had another fantastic game with some jaw dropping saves, but Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have been silent and less than stellar on the ice.

The Avalanche travel to Calgary for Friday's game, and the Flames are 9-2 in their last 11 games as home favorite of -110 to -150. The Avs are 9-1 in their last 10 games playing after a day's rest and are 6-1 in their last seven when their opponent scores two goals or less in the previous game.

The Flames’ best will be playing with full force and they’re looking to take the momentum back with this game. Calgary wins 3-1.