Bruins Game 9 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

16539804_web1_190423-IFD-Bruins-Leafs

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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

For the second-consecutive game, the Boston Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. This time, however, the arena is different as the two teams make the move to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins lost the last time out, 4-3 in overtime in Toronto, but was able to secure a point without second-line center David Krejci (upper-body) in the lineup.

Toronto has had a game since the win over Boston, losing 4-3 in overtime themselves against the Columbus Blue Jackets off of a penalty-shot winner in the OT session. The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic division with a record of 5-3-2.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 3-0-1 1.72 GAA .946 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 4-3 loss vs TBL (SO)

TOR: Michael Hutchinson (Likely) 0-1-1 3.97 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-3 loss vs WSH

Who’s Hot:

Tuukka Rask is starting in his 500th career NHL game tonight against the franchise who drafted him 21st-overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rask has been great for the Bruins this year, remaining undefeated in regulation with a record of 3-0-1. Tuukka has a 1.72 GAA (3rd in NHL*) and a .946 save percentage (3rd in NHL*) with one shutout back on October 12th against the Devils.

*minimum of four games started

Mitch Marner leads the Maple Leafs in points this season with 3-9-12 numbers in ten games so far, riding a two-game point streak coming into tonight’s contest as well. On Saturday, Marner finished the night with two assists against Boston – including the game-winning shot that hit Morgan Rielly in front, giving him a primary assist. Marner has been a force, as usual, and he seemingly thrives against the Bruins. Watch for that again tonight.

David Pastrnak was awarded the First Star of the Week according to the National Hockey League and rightly so. The 23-year-old Czech Republic native has dominated the NHL with nine points in three games last week – seven of them being goals. His nine goals on the 2019-20 season puts him tied for first in league and Pastrnak is also top-five in points with 15 in only eight games. Pastrnak put up a goal and an assist in Saturday’s loss to the Leafs.

Who’s Not:

With Frederik Andersen getting the start last night for the Blue and White, it is very likely that we see backup goaltender, Michael Hutchinson in between the pipes for the third time this season. So far, the 2008 3rd-round pick of the Boston Bruins has a win-less record of 0-1-1. Hutchinson has only started twice, but made five saves on five shots against the Lightning in replacement of Andersen who was pulled. With a GAA of 3.97 and a SV% of .886, Hutchinson has not be the best in net when he does get his chance.

Sean Kuraly is yet to find the back of the net in the 2019-2020 campaign, putting up only two assists in the opening eight games. Kuraly had a particularly poor game on Saturday, turning the puck over on numerous occasions with one breakout attempt directly leading to a Toronto goal. Kuraly is one of the better depth players in the NHL, but is starting off the year on a slower pace than expected from a Bruins team needing depth support.

Charlie McAvoy is atop the Bruins roster regarding the younger players, no doubt, but he has not performed at the peak of his potential this season so far. McAvoy has only one assist and is a -1 rating through eight games and against the Leafs last weekend, he made numerous turnovers and seemed out of position on a few rushes by Toronto. Boston needs him to be more consistent tonight and for the games to come.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Tuukka Rask is playing in his 500th career NHL game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is two assists away (498) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F David Pastrnak is one point (299) from 300 career NHL points

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F Auston Matthews is three assists away (97) from 100 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Outlook:

Saturday’s game was an entertaining game between these two teams with both teams getting chances on either end and both teams having solid goaltending throughout the course of the game. This time around, both teams will be putting out different starting goaltenders and will be playing in a different arena – bringing the possibility for another competitive game.

The Bruins managed to earn a point in the loss, keeping them tied in points with Toronto, but are ahead of the Canadian team due to their lack of total games played in comparison. Boston will be looking to win a regulation game on home-ice to take a full two points. Even early on in the season, these points are huge considering the level of competition in the NHL’s Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Earlier today, the Bruins announced that forward David Krejci (upper-body) has been placed on the injured-reserve and will not play tonight. In response, the organization recalled forward Anders Bjork from the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League to fill the vacant roster spot. Joakim Nordstrom was on the ice for practice, but no word on if he will return to the lineup. Karson Kuhlman did not practice and will likely miss tonight’s game after blocking a shot from DeBrusk in the last game.

The Bruins and Leafs are expected to have yet another strong game, even with the absence of Krejci and Tavares respectively. There are opportunities available for young players now, especially Bjork, to prove his worth in the depth charts and make a case for a top-six role.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Projected Lines:

Boston Bruins:

Toronto Maple Leafs:

The above lines for the Maple Leafs are for their game last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Things may change, but expect Hutchinson to get the start.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 150 that we recorded on 10-20-19 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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