By Lucas Salvatore | Follow me on Twitter @lsalvatore29
Its an original six Playoff matchup at TD Garden Thursday night as the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs get ready for game one of the 2018 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.
For the 15th time in NHL history, these two franchises will face off in best of seven series. This season it was the Leafs who won the season series three games to one. The games were a mix of 4-1 blowouts and tight contest respectively 3-2 and 4-3 featuring one overtime game. This will be the first playoff contest between these two clubs since the famous game seven collapses by the Maple Leafs in 2013. Only seven members from the Bruins remain and five from the Maple Leafs.
This new installment of this rivalry will include some of the games brightest young stars such as Charlie McAvoy and Auston Matthews as well as future Hockey Hall of Famers Zdeno Chara and Patrick Marleau. The mix of veterans and youth will be on full display as the Leafs have one of the NHL best offensive teams, but the Bruins hold a defensive advantage.
Things you need to know
- Riley Nash will not play in game one but has not been ruled out for game two.
- Ryan Donato appears to be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game.
- Nick Holden and Brian Gionta will also be a healthy scratch.
- The Bruins have not won a home playoff game since 2014.
- The Leafs have not defeated the Bruins in a Playoff series since 1959.
Players To Watch
Rick Nash: Returning from a concussion that has kept him out of game action since March 17th it will be interesting to see how fast the Bruins power forward can adapt to the hectic playing style this series will undoubtedly bring. Rick who is seen by many as a playoff disappearing act will most likely have his last chance to prove himself as a clutch player playing alongside proven playoff performer David Krejci.
Torey Krug: Torey did not participate in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring due to injury. Look for him to come out with a lot of energy and push the pace as the Bruins look to attack early. The blueliner has recorded sixteen points in twenty-seven playoff games and was also ranked ninth in points amongst defensemen this season. Krug led the way against the Leafs this season for Boston scoring four points in four games played.
Auston Matthews: The former first overall draft selection already made a statement in the postseason last spring against the Washington Capitals scoring four goals in six games. Auston has spent time on the shelf this year and missed 3 of the four meetings between the two clubs earlier this season. It will be interesting to see how the Leafs number one center matches up against Patrice Bergeron in one of the series leading storylines.
Mitch Marner: He has been a Bruins killer this season putting up nine points in four games between the two clubs. Marner while not having the best start this season found his stride during the second half and looks to continue the momentum going into this series. Watch for him to create a lot of plays especially on the powerplay as he uses his vision and speed to open up lanes.
Final Prediction: 4-2 Bruins Win