Game 7 First-Round Stanley Cup Playoff Betting Storylines
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The cliche is old, but true. The two most exciting words in sports remain "Game 7", and NHL betting fans will have two to ponder over on Tuesday night.
A team with little history faces one with a poignant recent history of postseason disappointment, as the San Jose Sharks try to complete an epic comeback against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping the third time is the charm in terms of facing the Boston Bruins in Game 7, as they'll try to win their first playoff series since 2003-04.
Both the Leafs and Golden Knights blew chances to advance in front of their home crowds and must now head into hostile territory with their seasons on the line.
The moneylines are tight, and Stanley Cup betting fans are going to have to make some difficult decisions, but lets look at the logic behind the odds as they stand.
Sharks-Golden Knights Game 7 Betting Preview
Odds Even after Sharks Comeback
There aren’t many active goalies with a deeper history of playoff success than Marc-Andre Fleury.
The 34-year-old has started 107 postseason games, won 62 of them and been to the Stanley Cup Final five times (winning three of them with the Pittsburgh Penguins).
All of that, as the internet showed Sunday night, can be easy to forget given the goal the veteran netminder conceded in double OT of Game 6.
It’s a goal Fleury definitely wants back, as the Golden Knights had dictated the flow of the game for the majority of the contest.
With tired bodies all over the ice, a power play could’ve been just what Vegas needed to finally deal the killing blow on home ice. Instead the Knights promptly, sloppily turned the puck over at their own end, and San Jose's Tomas Hertl got way too much breathing room in the neutral zone.
Despite the turnover and breakaway, Fleury got a great look at Hertl’s shot as it came in all the way from the top of the left circle. Off the stick it looked like what would be an easy, routine Fleury save on most nights.
But it was all the Sharks needed to extend their season.
As unlikely as that moment was, it seems to be a microcosm of the way this series has gone. The Golden Knights have looked like the better team most of the way, but the end results have been decidedly mixed.
That’s likely the main reasoning behind the dead-even -110 moneyline split oddsmakers are assigning to Tuesday night’s Game 7.
Fleury's Experience, Franchise's Inexperience Both Factors
The Golden Knights looked ready to blow the Sharks out of the water after a Game 1 loss in San Jose. Vegas scored at least five goals in Games 2, 3 and 4, winning each of them by an average margin of 3.3 goals.
Then the Golden Knights failed to get the job done in Game 5 despite outshooting San Jose 32-28. That was a rough night for Fleury as he stopped 24 of 28 shots against him, and despite a better showing in Game 6, the aforementioned shorty allowed could come back to haunt him.
This is uncharted territory for the Golden Knights in just their second season of existence. They’ve never lost a series when up by at least two games, but now they face an experienced San Jose team looking to pull off the rare (but not exceedingly rare) 3-1 series comeback.
Fleury, as one would suppose, has had plenty of experience in pressure-packed Game 7s. He’s posted a 3-4 record with a .908 save percentage over his seven career Game 7 starts.
But the inability of the Golden Knights to slam the door in Game 5 mixed with the sheer unpredictability of moments like the one witnessed at the end of Game 6 have sportsbooks labeling Tuesday night a toss-up.
Bruins-Maple Leafs Game 7 Betting Preview
Bruins Favored at Home After Leafs Miss Chance in Ontario
Bookies are being fairly unkind to the Maple Leafs heading into Game 7 of what's been a very competitive series. And rightfully so.
The Leafs were in a fantastic position to finish off the Bruins after a huge win in Beantown in Game 5. With the series shifted to Toronto in front of one of the best hockey crowds you could hope for, the Leafs just couldn't get it going.
Frederik Anderson was wonderful in net with a .925 save percentage, but the Bruins almost doubled up the Leafs in the shots department 40-24.
Morgan Rielly gave the Leafs an early 1-0 lead, but they coughed it up just as quickly after goals from Brad Marchand and Torey Krug put Boston on top before the first intermission.
The Bruins controlled things from there on out playing solid defense in front of a solid night from Tuukka Rask, and Leafs fans now face a dreadfully familiar situation.
For the most part, oddsmakers like history over the possibilities of the unknown, and history most certainly favors the Bruins. They've won five of their last seven Game 7's while Toronto, as mentioned, hasn't even won a series in 13 years.
It's important to remember that neither team has won back-to-back games this series, so there's hope for Auston Matthews and Co. in that stat. But the sportsbooks have the Bruins as -140 favorites over Toronto at +121.