Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Playoffs: Can They Come Back?

Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Playoffs: Can They Come Back?
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

It has been a postseason to forget as far as Toronto Maple Leafs playoff chances go, with the franchise falling into a 3-1 series hole against the Boston Bruins. Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to their rivals from Massachusetts put the Leafs in a real bind., as part of its Ontario sports betting coverage, used to find out how often a team comes back to win when they’re down 3-1 in a best-of-seven series in the NHL playoffs. Using the results of those teams in the first round of the past five years of playoffs, we found that four out of 15 teams won the series after facing that situation.

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NHL Teams Down 3-1 In Past 5 Years

Won Series Lost Series
27% (+270 odds) 73% (-270 odds)

We converted their chances into odds, just like the ones you see at Ontario sportsbook apps

Toronto hasn’t advanced past the second round in any of its eight straight trips to the playoffs since 2017. That speaks to the pressure that comes from playing for such a high-pressure club.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Game 5 between Boston and Toronto, used Champs or Chumps’ data to determine the odds that the Maple Leafs have to win three straight and snatch a first-round series win from the Bruins. Recent trends indicate that it happens about a quarter of the time. But if you look at all of NHL history, the picture is much bleaker.

NHL History: Teams Erasing 3-1 Series Deficits

Won Series Overall Won Series After Game 5 Win
9.5% (+950 odds) 21.3% (+370 odds)

See our Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup odds page as well.

Can Toronto Turn Tables On Boston?

After losing three of the first four games, it seems the Leafs are in big trouble against the Bruins. In all of NHL history, only 9.5% of teams that fell into a 3-1 series hole (32 out of 338) went on to win that series. Those odds increased to 21.3% for teams that won Game 5 after falling into a 3-1 deficit.

It’s worth noting that Toronto is currently listed as a 1.5-goal underdog on Bet365 Ontario Sportsbook, with +140 odds for Toronto (to -165 for Boston). The operator has +300 odds that the Leafs lose the series by less than 1.5 games.

That road to redemption begins in earnest at 7 p.m. local time Tuesday, when Toronto and Boston meet at TD Garden in a showdown between teams that finished second and third in the Atlantic Division this season. That ensured that the old Original Six rivals would meet again in the first round of the 2024 NHL playoffs.

For what it’s worth, Toronto’s lone win of the series did come in Boston. The Leafs defeated the Bruins, 3-2, on April 22 in Beantown. That could give Toronto – and perhaps those who bet on the team's Stanley Cup odds – the confidence that the team could have what it takes to punch its way off the ropes Tuesday night.

In Leafs history, they have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven series 17 times. They came back to win the series just once, in the 1942 Stanley Cup final, when they lost the first three games to the Detroit Red Wings and rallied to win four straight and take the title. Six times, they have won Game 5 to at least force a sixth game. The won Game 5 against Boston to force a Game 6 in the 2013 playoffs and again in 2018. In both of those years, Toronto won both Game 5 and Game 6 before losing in Game 7.

For now, it seems like the NHL betting odds are stacked against coach Sheldon Keefe’s team. Toronto faces extremely long odds of winning three straight to send the Bruins packing, but that’s why they play the games.

USA Today photo by Nick Turchiaro

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Christopher Boan is a writer at He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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