NHL: Preview and picks for Leafs vs Bruins, Panthers vs Rangers Games Tonight

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Ilya Samsonov

Key Atlantic Division Showdown

With Friday’s trade deadline looming, the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins tonight in a big Atlantic Division matchup, the first of a two-game series this week between the two teams – they are back in Boston Thursday night. The Maple Leafs have posted a 0-0-2 record against Boston during the 2023-24 season. Toronto has earned a point in three-consecutive games against the Bruins (0-0-3) while posting a 4-3-3 record in their last 10 meetings.

NHL Schedule: Game Details

 DateTimeLocationHow to Watch
Leafs vs. BruinsMar 4, 20247:00 p.m. ESTScotiabank Arena, Toronto, ONTV: Sportsnet; Radio: TSN 1050
Panthers vs. RangersMar 4, 20247:00 p.m. ESTMadison Square Garden, New YorkESPN+

Game 1: Leafs vs. Bruins Insights

The Toronto Maple Leafs (35-17-8-78, 3rd in the Atlantic Division) are 9-1-0 in their last ten, fresh off a huge 4-3 (SO) win Saturday night over the New York Rangers at home, a team that sits first in the Metropolitan Division. The Leafs have been averaging 4.7 goals, 7.4 assists, 3.3 penalties and 7.6 penalty minutes while giving up 2.7 goals per game over that stretch.

Despite their overall record, the Leafs are just 6-7-2 against Atlantic Division teams. The Bruins? They are 12-3-3 against divisional teams. A few notes from Saturday that stood out from a betting perspective: Leafs G Ilya Samsonov (15-5-6, 3.23 GAA, .883 SV%, and two shutouts) has turned around his season in a major way, since being sent down to the minors in late December. 

Samsonov made a series of five-star saves against the Rangers, including a sliding, legs spread wide, blocker stop off Artemi Panarin in overtime that preserved the tie and allowed the Leafs to win in the shootout. He is listed as probable for tonight. G Jeremy Swayman (19-6-8, three shutouts, 2.53 GAA, .919 SV%) is listed as probable starter for the Bruins.

Also head coach Sheldon Keefe spent February moving the lineup around and unlocked secondary scoring. All three lines scored against the Rangers Saturday night. That’s been a positive trend of late.

🏒 Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Bruins at DraftKings 🏒

A key stat, thanks to Associate Press: The Bruins are fifth in the NHL with 262 total penalties (4.2 average per game). The Leafs’ powerplay is second in the NHL (28.4%).  The Bruins (35-13-14-84, 2nd in the Atlantic Division) are going to be irritable, coming off a 5-1 loss Saturday night to the New York Islanders.

Newly acquired D Ilya Lyubushkin left Saturday’s game after a big-time controversial hit against the glass by the Rangers’ Matt Rempe. He is listed as day to day with an apparent head injury. D Mark Giordano is also out (concussion). That’s two major holes on the back end going into a big game tonight. 

However - Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reported this morning on X that Lyubushkin was on the ice for the morning skate. For the Bruins, D Matt Grzelcyk, C Pavel Zacha and RW Justin Brazeau are listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

So tonight, and Thursday, represents an opportunity for the Leafs to make some real gains in their division. 

Player Props

If you’re into online betting, according to BetMGM, Auston Matthews Over 3.5, Matthews Over 1.5 Points, and Bobby McMann Over 1.5 Shots are most bet player props this morning.

And at DraftKings, it’s Matthews Anytime Goalscorer (1.87), David Pastrnak Anytime Goalscorer (1.87), Partrnak First Goalscorer (7.50), Brad Marchand First Goalscorer (12.00), Matthews Over 3.5 Shots on Goal (1.63), Mitch Marner Over 0.5 Assists (1.69) leading the way among bettors. 

Game 2: Panthers vs. Rangers Insights

The Rangers (40-17-4-84, 1st in the Metropolitan Division) are coming off that tough OT loss to the Leafs, and have been hit by injuries – RW Blake Wheeler, C Filip Chytil, and D Ben Harpur are all out. On the Panthers (41-16-4-86, 1st in the Atlantic Division) end – LW Jonah Gadjovich is day-to-day.

A battle between two first place teams. The Panthers also last played Saturday – a 4-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Two Russian goalie titans go head-to-head – Sergei Bobrovsky (30-12-2, four shutouts, 2.30 GAA, .918 SV%) for the Panthers, Igor Shesterkin (26-12-2 one shutout, 2.66 GAA, .911 SV%) for the Rangers. 

🏒 Bet on Panthers vs. Rangers at FanDuel 🏒

The Rangers are 21-7-0 at home; the Panthers are 21-8-2 on the road. The Panthers are 14-4-3 in games decided by one goal, according to Associated Press. The Panthers have the fifth-best PP in the league – 26.2%. The Rangers? Right behind them in sixth – 24.6%. Just a titanic showdown in New York tonight.

Player Props

On the NHL sports betting front, Sam Bennett Over 2.5 Shots, Panarin Over 1.5 Points, and Chris Kreider Over 3.5 Shots are the most bet player props, according to BetMGM data. 

And at DraftKings, it’s Panarin Anytime Goalscorer (2.45), Sam Reinhart Anytime Goalscorer (2.30), Alexis Lafreniere Over 2.5 Shots on Goal (1.83), Sam Bennett Over 2.5 Shots on Goal (1.71) Matthew Tkachuk Over 0.5 Assists (1.74) and Aleksander Barkov Under 0.5 Assists (2.30) leading the way among bettors. 

Our NHL Picks Today 

Tighter on the betting front so far this morning – 63 per cent of spread bets are on the Bruins, where 64 per cent on money line bets are going Leafs, according to BetMGM stats. We’re going Leafs ATS at BetMGM. One of the reasons was the Leafs going 0-3 on the power play Saturday night and 0-1 against the Arizona Coyotes in their 4-2 victory last Thursday. 

Home ice advantage plus that power play is too strong and will bust out tonight. Plus the Samsonov factor. That Over is a pretty good bet as well – considering what we’re saying about the Leafs’ PP, and the Bruins’ average of 2.9 goals per game over the past ten, combined with the Leafs’ per game goal average.

Yes, the Panthers have won four in a row, but we’re taking the Rangers on the Moneyline at PointsBet Canada. They’re coming off the loss to the Leafs, and while they have a six-point lead over second place Carolina Panthers, they’re not going to want to give them any more oxygen. Fifty-one per cent of money bets this morning at BetMGM are on the Rangers – 69 per cent on the Rangers in spread bets.

BetMGMLeafs 1.77, Bruins 2.10Leafs -1.5 (2.70), Bruins +1.5 (1.48)6.5; Over 2.00; Under 1.83
PointsBet CanadaPanthers 1.83, Rangers 2.00Panthers -1.5 (3.10), Rangers +1.5 (1.38)5.5; Over 1.77; Under 2.01

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Mark Keast

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