Faced with elimination, Montreal responded with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 5, reducing Toronto’s lead to 3-2 before Saturday night’s game. But while the Canadiens avoided a premature exit with Thursday’s win, they still have a hill to climb to get back into this series.
Overall, Montreal have recorded just two wins in their last 10 games and have failed to record back-to-back wins while losing 10 of 15 overall games with Toronto this season. The Canadiens are also on a four-game losing streak at home, and they have only scored one goal overall while losing two home games so far in this series.
These goal issues are not new. Montreal has averaged a measly 1.90 goals per game in its last 10 games and has recorded just two wins in the last 15 playoff games in which it has scored two goals or less. However, the Canadiens only needed modest offensive production to reverse that trend, winning 15 straight playoff games scoring at least three goals.
After spoiling Thursday’s comeback attempt, the Maple Leafs expect Saturday to be -190 road favorites on sports betting sites. Toronto erased a 3-0 deficit in Game 5, but was denied its first playoff win in 17 years by overtime winner Nick Suzuki. With the loss, the Maple Leafs extended their record of futility as they stood poised for a series victory, going 0-5 during the NHL’s salary cap era.
The presence of Montreal hockey fans in the seats adds to the challenge facing Toronto on Saturday. Up to 2,500 fans are expected to be in attendance for Game 6, marking the first time fans have been in attendance for a major sporting event in Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That should provide a spark for the Canadians, who have recorded wins in 10 of the last 13 home games with fans present since 2013.
Meanwhile, as Toronto and Montreal continue their North Division streak on Saturday, second-round action begins in the East Division as the Boston Bruins host the New York Islanders with -190 chalk at home in their Game No. ° 1. The Islanders are the +165 underdogs on the road. The Bruins also lead as a -260 favorites on the NHL playoff awards despite winning in just three of their eight games with New York last season.