Bruins Game 8 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

One of the biggest rivalries in the National Hockey League – the Boston Bruins vs the Toronto Maple Leafs makes it’s the debut of the 2019-2020 season tonight in Toronto. The Bruins are coming into the game with a 5-1-1 record, losing in a shootout to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a close game.

For Toronto, they boast a 4-3-1 record, giving them the first wild-card spot. The Leafs have been off to a slow start – often trading wins and losses so far this season bringing them to the record they have. In their last time out, Toronto took a 4-3 defeat to the Washington Capitals in Washington.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 2-1-0 1.69 GAA .951 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 4-2 win vs ANA

TOR: Frederik Andersen 4-2-0 3.14 GAA .893 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-2 win vs MIN

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak is virtually unstoppable right now. The 23-year-old winger has eight goals, five assists for thirteen points in seven games so far and is currently riding a five-game point streak with two consecutive games now with three or more points. Against the Lightning, Pastrnak scored two goals and added an assist including the game-tying goal that eventually forced a shootout. Pastrnak has had great success against the Leafs, scoring 11-8-19 numbers in 15 regular-season games against Toronto.

Fresh off his brand new contract with the Maple Leafs, Mitch Marner is picking things right up from his 94-point campaign in 2018-19 with now nine points in the opening eight games played. Marner has scored three goals and helped with six assists on the scoresheets – leading the Maple Leafs in points. Marner was held pointless against the Capitals but had a three-point game the night before against the Wild.

Morgan Rielly is tied with Mitch Marner in points, however, all of them are assists. Rielly has been the number-one defenceman in Toronto for the past couple of seasons and it seems each year he finds improvements. Against Minnesota, Rielly put up four assists in 21:44 of ice time followed up by a pointless night against Washington in over 27 minutes of time on the ice. Four of his nine assists were on the power-play.

Who’s Not:

Jake DeBrusk is still of his game and it may be a little bit concerning for the Bruins who are struggling to find depth scoring, even more so now with the absence of David Krejci on the second line. DeBrusk played 17:11 in Thursday’s game, finishing the night with a -1 rating, two shots on goal, and zero points. In the first seven games, DeBrusk has only one assist. Jake only has one goal in six regular-season games against the Maple Leafs.

The entire depth charts at the forward position can be listed for the Boston Bruins in this category. Aside from the first-line, only Sean Kuraly has more than one point (2), while seven forwards have only a single point this season. Without the power-play and the top line, the Boston Bruins likely would not be as high in the standings as they are right now. The B’s cannot rely on David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to carry the workload for all 82 games.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Patrice Bergeron is three assists away (497) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F David Pastrnak is three points away (297) from 300 career NHL points

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F Auston Matthews is five points away (95) from 100 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Leafs Outlook

The first of two meetings in the next four days between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs goes down tonight in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The rivalry between these two Original Six franchises has seemingly never been so competitive nor entertaining for that matter. After the Bruins eliminated the Maple Leafs in both the 2018 and the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toronto is looking to come back and finally get revenge over Boston.

Both teams will be without big players in their lineup as well. Newly-named captain John Tavares is out for at least a couple of weeks due to a broken finger suffered from blocking a Morgan Rielly shot. On Boston’s side, forward David Krejci is out once again with an injury and forward Joakim Nordstrom is also not travelling with the team to Toronto.

Speciality teams have always played a big factor in this rivalry and it should again tonight. The Bruins come into the contest with the second-best power-play percentage in the NHL (38.1%), while the Leafs have the 8th-best man-advantage at 26.9%. On the penalty-kill, the Bruins have killed off 85.7% of their penalties compared to Toronto’s 80.8% success rate while short-handed.

With both teams coming off a loss earlier in the week to strong Eastern Conference teams, it should make for a back-and-forth, entertaining hockey game – as it usually is between Toronto and Boston. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from Toronto, Canada.

Projected Lineups:

Boston Bruins:

Toronto Maple Leafs:

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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