Toronto at Boston

Venue:
  •  
STATS/TSX

The Boston Bruins will again have the home-ice advantage over the Toronto Maple Leafs when the teams meet for the second successive season in the first round of the playoffs beginning Thursday night.

The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in seven games last year.

"I think it's a great matchup, great rivalry," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Guys should be excited to play."

The Bruins finished with the second-best record (49-24-9, 107 points) in the Eastern Conference, 21 points behind the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. The Leafs (46-28-8, 100 points) were fifth.

"We really believe we're going to be prepared -- we've got a lot of people back, we feel we'll be rested and ready to go," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We're excited about the opportunity, we look forward to going to Boston."

The Bruins won the season series 3-1.

To win the playoff series, the Maple Leafs must find a way of stopping the Bruins' top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, who combined for 30 points in the series last year.

The Maple Leafs are expected to counter with their own top-scoring line of John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman.

"Obviously, they've got real good players, their big line is elite, elite, elite and Bergeron just knows how to win," Babcock said. "He's flat-out won everything, he knows how to stop on defense, he knows how to free up those other two guys."

Marner feels Tavares is ideal for the role of trying to slow Boston's stars.

"He's been playing against star players for the majority of his life," Marner said. "I think he knows how to be successful, and that's being on the defensive side of the puck, taking care of your D-zone first and letting the offense come to him."

Not only is Marchand an offensive threat, but he is also an agitator.

"Just let him do whatever he wants after the whistle," Marner said. "We all know he's going to try to get under our skin, that's nothing new there. Just, as a team, stay calm with each other.

"We know what we've got to do to be successful, and that's making sure we're not getting in the (penalty) box. That team thrives off the power play. For us, it's just making sure, when he's on the ice, play him hard. He's a great player, he's got a lot of skill, he can make plays."

The Bruins were hampered earlier in the season by injuries to defensemen Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller.

After the All-Star break, the Bruins surged with a 19-game point streak that included victories over the Lightning, San Jose Sharks and the Washington Capitals. During most of that stretch, Pastrnak was out with a thumb injury.

But Boston cooled off a bit late, finishing the regular-season schedule on a 3-4-0 stretch.

"I'm an optimist," Cassidy said. "I like our team. We play hard. We're one of the better teams from start to finish, I think, in the National Hockey League, specifically the second half of the year. We've played well at the right times. We've earned our way."

The Maple Leafs are expected to split Auston Matthews and William Nylander, playing them on different lines.

"It just gives us different ways to look at things," Babcock said. "Obviously, we know (Kasperi Kapanen), we know Willy (Nylander). We're going to move those guys around a little bit. We're going to play them the way it's best suited and based on how they play."

--Field Level Media

Copyright 2019 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

 
 
Standings
Team Standings W L OT Pts L 10
Toronto3rd Atlantic 462881003-4-3
Boston2nd Atlantic 492491076-4-0

Related Video

 
 
Series Game Log
DateLocationResults
Jan 17BostonBOS 5-2
Feb 23 @ St. LouisSTL 2-1
May 27Boston 
May 29Boston 
Jun 1 @ St. Louis 
Jun 3 @ St. Louis 
Jun 6Boston 
Jun 9 @ St. Louis 
Jun 12Boston 
Other Games
CAR 2 Final
WAS 4
COL 0 Final
CGY 4