Perceptions Change for Maple Leafs After Game 1 Loss to Panthers

Date IconLast Updated: 2023 Oct 17
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Perceptions Change for Maple Leafs After Game 1 Loss to Panthers
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Maple Leafs fans were cheering to face the Florida Panthers in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs playoffs, as opposed to meeting the behemoth Boston Bruins, who finished the regular season with 135 points.

How do you feel about that today?

The Panthers took Game 1 last night at Scotiabank Centre, 4-2, and looked to be in control most of the game. After a slow start to the season, Florida went 24-13-4 in the regular season’s second half, then took out the Bruins.

Before the series started, the Leafs were down as favourites to win the Stanley Cup – at 4.75, according to BetMGM (the Panthers were 11.0). Our pick for last night was for the Leafs to cover -1.5 spread. They were on home ice, coming off the emotional Game 6 OT win in Tampa Bay Saturday night.

Leafs Struggle on Power Play

We also looked at what we thought was a power play advantage. Florida ranked 23rd in penalty killing efficiency during the regular season. So much for that, at least last night. The Leafs power play went 0-4.

But this is the season of the upset. The Panthers were faster, better. Matthew Tkachuk was a beast. Plus Florida got a great performance from their $10 million Russian goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, who was up and down all year. Last night he had 34 saves, a bunch of them of the really big variety, especially after a late high sticking penalty. Bobrovsky was 24-20-3, with a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage during the regular season. And he wasn’t the first choice for the Bruins series. Who would have called that going into the game?

Betting Odds for Game 2

PointsBet Canada has the moneyline for Game 2 (tomorrow, Scotiabank Arena, 7:15 p.m.) at Leafs 1.51, Panthers 2.6. NorthStar has the Moneyline Leafs 1.51, Panthers 2.6. DraftKings has the moneyline at Leafs 1.56 (87 per cent of the handle so far), Panthers 2.55.

We like the value on the  under 6.5 for tomorrow night (2.1), another tight game, plus Bobrovsky’s rediscovery of his game, unlike all the offence seen in multiple Round 1 series.

Leafs Stanley Cup Futures Odds

And those Stanley Cup futures, as of today? The Leafs are now 6.25, now behind the Edmonton Oilers (4.5). The Panthers made a huge jump, now 7.0.

They’ll likely make some lineup changes for tomorrow night’s game, to better match Florida’s speed. D Erik Gustafsson is likely to get back in there.