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    Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Thursday NHL odds, props: Boston missing Charlie McAvoy; home underdog for first time in more than year

    Toronto visits Boston in an Original Six matchup.
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    The Boston Bruins set NHL records for wins and points last season but were supposed to take a bit of a step back this year after Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired. However, the Bruins enter Thursday's matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs without a regulation loss at 8-0-1, yet are slight -105 underdogs at FanDuel, the first time Boston has been a home dog since Oct. 17, 2022.

    Why is Boston a dog? The Leafs are certainly a very good team, but the Bruins are notably short-handed on the blue line. Their defender and one of the best in the Eastern Conference, All-Star Charlie McAvoy, was suspended four games for an illegal check to the head of Florida Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during Monday's game. The 25-year-old McAvoy was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty only two minutes and eight seconds after tying the game at 2-2. McAvoy is third on the team with eight points, is plus-6 and averages a team-high 23:52 of ice time.

    McAvoy's usual partner is Matt Grzelyck. He left Monday's game with an upper-body injury in the first period and coach Jim Montgomery said he expects Grzelyck to be "out a couple of weeks." He has a point, is plus-2 and averages 15:15 of ice time per game.  A third defenseman, Derek Forbort, is out for undisclosed reasons. He has two points, is plus-7 and averages 19:02 of ice time. Boston called up three defensemen from AHL Providence on Wednesday.

    The Bruins have scored three or more goals in each of their first nine games, tied for their longest such streak to start a season in franchise history. The last team to post a longer run was Detroit, which posted a 13-game streak in 1997-98. David Pastrnak, who was named one of the NHL's "Three Stars" for the month of October after leading his club in goals, assists (tied) and points, has 29 career points against the Leafs (17 goals, 12 assists). His 17 goals against them trail only the Flyers (24) and Lightning (20) for his most goals versus a single franchise. Pastrnak is the +100 favorite for an anytime goal tonight.

    Boston can become the third team in NHL history to win nine of its first 10 games in consecutive seasons, joining Montreal (2015-16 and 2016-17) and Ottawa (1925-26 and 1926-27). Jeremy Swayman is in net on Thursday. Swayman has won all four of his starts with a 1.26 GAA and a .957 save percentage. Boston has won its past three as a home dog dating to February 2022.

    On the other side, Leafs star Auston Matthews can surpass Toronto legend Dave Keon (140) for sole possession of fourth place on the franchise's all-time road goals list with one tonight. Matthews is +120 for a goal and has nine in 15 career games vs. Boston. Struggling Ilya Samsonov, who has allowed 17 goals on only 107 shots in three outings this year, is in net.

    It's the first meeting of the season between Original Six rivals. The home team is 4-1 in the past five. 

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