Last season, the Maple Leafs were good for some big blowout Bruins wins–6-2, 7-0, 8-0–but also some Boston victories that were a little more closely fought. All in all, the Bruins won every single one of the six meetings between these two Northeast Division teams last season.
However, things might be a little different this time. The Leafs have a three-game winning streak coming into this game, sit at third in the Northeast and are actually in fifth place in the entire Eastern Conference right now. Yes, really! If the playoffs were to begin today, the Bruins and Leafs would be seeded against one another. This season, they also have a young goal-scoring ace in James van Riemsdyk, who put up his 13th goal of the season last night against the Ottawa Senators in a 5-4 win. Nazem Kadri has been tearing it up too and currently leads the team with 24 points.
That being said, when these two teams had their inaugural meeting of this season at the start of February, the Bruins came out of it with a 1-0 shutout win via a goal from Chris Bourque and strong netminding from Tuukka Rask. Rask has a good overall record when playing against the team that drafted him back in 2005: 7-1-0, 1.46 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.
But Anton Khudobin left morning skate first, so he may get the nod tonight. He’s never faced Toronto before, but it’s a good time to give Rask a little rest.
Marchand will be looking to put up his 13th goal of the season too and move out of the seven-way tie of guys who all have 12. He’s put up three goals and four assists in 13 games played. Tyler Seguin, the Greater Toronto Area native who got his first hat trick against Toronto last season, has a total of eight goals and five assists, also in 13 games played. Like Seguin, David Krejci has produced pretty much a point per game: 10 goals and 21 assists in 31 games.
Other strong hands against Toronto include Patrice Bergeron (nine goals, 22 assists, 41 games), Milan Lucic (five goals, 17 assists, 29 games), Rich Peverley (two goals, nine assists, 15 games) and Nathan Horton (eight goals, 16 assists, 31 games).
Regarding the team’s collapse against the Washington Capitals two days ago, the team can’t dwell on it for too long simply because there are more places to go and more games to play, but they did try to take some lessons away from it.
Did they learn the lessons? Find out tonight at 7 p.m. on NESN.