Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, April 11, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Playoff Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Toronto Maple Leafs look to prevent history from repeating itself (again) when they open their Eastern Conference first-round series against the host Boston Bruins on Thursday. The Maple Leafs lost in seven games to their Original Six rivals in a spirited first-round set in 2018, five years removed from a demoralizing Game 7 loss in which they squandered a three-goal lead in the third period.
Boston won three of the four encounters versus Toronto this season and enters the playoffs on a 22-7-4 run, highlighted by a 19-game point streak (15-0-4) from Jan. 29-March 9 that allowed the Bruins to pull away from the Maple Leafs in the standings. “It was a hell of a stretch that we put together there. To go (12) games at home without being beaten and then gain points in (19) consecutive games says a lot of the group,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said.
Toronto’s key offseason acquisition, John Tavares, posted career-best totals in goals (47) and points (88), although he had just one and two, respectively, in the season series against Boston, while Auston Matthews recorded just two in last year’s playoff series. “Everybody knows the history between the two teams, but we don’t like to dwell on the past,” fellow forward Nazem Kadri said. “We want to focus on the future and what we can do from this moment on.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVAS, CBC, Sportsnet (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (46-28-8): Frederik Andersen will be under the microscope in the hockey hotbed that is Toronto after he recorded a 3.76 goals-against average and .896 save percentage in last year’s playoff series. The 29-year-old Dane posted uneven performances in a pair of meetings in 2018-19, turning aside 38 shots in a 4-2 win on Nov. 26 before getting shredded for a season high-tying amount of goals in a 6-3 setback on Dec. 8. Garret Sparks returned to practice on Wednesday and likely will serve in a backup role with Michael Hutchinson and his wife expecting a baby.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (49-24-9): Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand (team-leading 64 assists, 100 points), David Pastrnak (club-best 38 goals, 81 points) and Patrice Bergeron (career-high 79 points) enjoyed stellar seasons and are no strangers to lighting up the scoreboard against Toronto. The group combined for 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in last year’s seven-game series versus the Maple Leafs and Marchand (seven assists) and Pastrnak (six goals, three assists) also played significant roles in the four meetings in 2018-19. David Krejci matched his career high with 73 points, with multi-point performances coming in four of his last five games.
1. Toronto C Mitch Marner collected four of his 68 assists and five of his 94 points against Boston.
2. Bruins D Torey Krug scored a goal and set up five others in the season series versus the Maple Leafs.
3. Toronto D Morgan Rielly recorded a career-high 20 goals, but he failed to score in each of his final 10 games.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m.: @ Bruins
Saturday, April 13, 8 p.m.: @ Bruins
Monday, April 15, 7 p.m.: @ Maple Leafs
Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m.: @ Maple Leafs
Friday, April 19 (time TBD): @ Bruins
Sunday, April 21 (time TBD): @ Maple Leafs
Tuesday, April 23 (time TBD): @ Bruins