Maple Leafs the betting favourites for Game 7 vs. Canadiens

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin and Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher battle for the puck. (Alex D’Addese/Sportsnet)

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to avoid a massive playoff disappointment on Monday as they return home to battle the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their first-round series as -200 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Poised to advance to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after posting a dominating 4-0 win in Game 4, Toronto has subsequently stumbled to a pair of overtime losses that leave the series tied at three games apiece going into Monday’s matchup at Scotiabank Arena.

The Maple Leafs offence has sputtered since seemingly taking control of the series with wins in Games 2, 3, and 4. Toronto outgunned the Canadiens by a 11-2 margin while powering to a 3-1 series lead, with Montreal holding the lead for less than five minutes over that stretch. However, the tables have since turned. Montreal set the tone early on while marching to victory in Games 5 and 6, scoring first and denying the Maple Leafs the lead in each of those contests.

In addition to extending their current losing streak in games where they are positioned to win a series, Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss leaves the Maple Leafs faced with the challenge of snapping a four-game losing streak in the deciding game of a playoff series. Toronto has fallen to defeat in each of its past three Game 7 appearances, and also came up short in the final matchup of last summer’s five-game qualifying round series with Columbus.

Facing little pressure following Saturday night’s victory, the Canadiens look to Monday as +170 road underdogs on the Game 7 odds at online betting sites. With nothing to lose, Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme has handed bigger assignments to the team’s young talent, and has been handsomely rewarded.

Led by overtime heroes Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the youngsters’ steady play has given the Canadiens’ offence a modest boost. Montreal has now scored seven total goals over its past two outings after averaging just 1.67 goals per game while losing eight of its previous nine games.

And while the Maple Leafs face the intense pressure to rewrite a woeful playoff narrative in Game 7, the Canadiens will be looking to extend an impressive run that has seen them win 16 straight playoff games when scoring at least three goals. However, the team has scored three or more goals just four times in its past 13 trips to Toronto, earning the win in just two of those contests and four times overall during that stretch.

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