Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Toronto: 11/15/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (@MapleLeafs on Twitter)

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

On the hands of a devastating 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers earlier in the week, the Boston Bruins are coming in tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs before another game tomorrow against the Washington Capitals in hopes of ending their current four-game losing skid.

For Toronto, they are coming into the game losing each of their last two meetings with a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders fresh in their mind only two nights ago. Toronto will be without forward Mitch Marner and Alexander Kerfoot due to injuries that will keep them out for the next few weeks. The Leafs are currently out of a playoff spot and will look to rebound here tonight against their biggest rival.

Tonight, the six most-recent inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame will be present in the stands as the NHL celebrates it’s annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Toronto Maple Leafs (9-7-4)

Away: Boston Bruins (11-3-4)

Last Bruins Result: 5-4 SO loss vs FLA

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 7-2-2 2.16 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 SO loss to FLA

TOR: Frederik Andersen 9-3-3 2.72 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 loss to NYI

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forwards Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn, Brett Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman, and David Backes are all out with injuries while defensemen Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, and John Moore remain out of the gameday lineup. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Thursday that Brett Ritchie is the only one that has a chance to play tomorrow against the Capitals.

First Period:

Following a great ceremony to honor the Hall of Fame inductees, the two teams get underway. In the opening five minutes or so, the Bruins had the better of the puck possession even though the Leafs took an early lead in the shot department. Just about seven minutes in, Andreas Johnsson manages to get around Charlie McAvoy for a partial breakaway, but Rask makes the pad stop. Less than a minute after, Pastrnak gets a brilliant chance right in front of the net but is robbed by Andersen – we got a game ladies and gentlemen.

Halfway through the opening frame, both teams are going back-and-forth still. The puck seems to be taking bounces and deflections off of bodies on either side of the ice and the physicality is through the roof. Chris Wagner landed a big hit on Trevor Moore in the neutral zone and Trent Frederic has landed numerous hits of his own already. Connor Clifton too:

With about seven minutes left in the period, the Maple Leafs get the best few chances of the game so far with a couple really close shots that were towards an open Bruins net but the shot either missed or was blocked by a Bruin in front. Boston manages to recover and get it out of the zone.

Right after that, Matt Grzelcyk had the puck behind Frederik Andersen and makes a slick pass to Charlie Coyle who was open in that bumper spot that Patrice Bergeron has had success in and buries the game’s first goal, 1-0 Bruins. Great sequence from Boston who dealt with the onslaught of Toronto for a few minutes to bring the play right-back against a tired Leafs line and capitalize, taking some momentum away from the home Toronto crowd.

With 5:51 remaining in the first, the Bruins take the first penalty of the game as David Pastrnak gets sent to the box for two minutes for interference. Toronto needs a tying goal here on the power-play before the buzzer sounds. However, Boston says no to that idea and make a strong kill, back to five-on-five. Leafs fail to get even a single shot on the man-advantage.

3:23 shows on the score clock in the Scotiabank Arena and the Toronto Maple Leafs take their first penalty. Nic Shore gets called on a holding minor. Unlike the Bruins, they struggle to get any momentum at all on the power-play and just looked out of sorts, failing to move the puck around enough and the Maple Leafs successfully kill it off late in this period.

The first period ends after a couple icings by the B’s. Fairly competitive twenty minutes of hockey that sees Boston holding a one-to-nothing lead over Toronto. Solid two-way hockey and much of the same is needed for a full 60-minutes.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 TOR: 8

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Coyle (3) Assists: Grzelcyk (4), Bjork (1)

Second Period:

Again in the opening minutes of the period, the Bruins are showing really good focus and confidence in their game and it has been working out well. Patrice Bergeron has been fantastic on the defensive side of the puck and after each whistle, there seems to be more and more shoving. Tensions are running high as usual with Boston and Toronto.

Toronto is still getting their brief moments of attacks as they have become known for in the past few seasons, but Tuukka Rask has done his job in between the pipes with some big saves. Rask hasn’t been great as of late but looks dialed in thus far.

As Toronto builds momentum, they manage to cycle the puck from behind the Bruins net to Jake Muzzin who one-times it towards the net. Auston Matthews gets his stick on the puck, deflecting it past Tuukka Rask. The on-ice officials reviewed the play for a potential high-stick on the deflection, but after a short review, the goal stands and the Maple Leafs officially ties the game at one.

Boston has a great chance to sway the momentum back to them immediately after the tying marker after a brutal hit by Charlie McAvoy that resulted in a breakaway for Sean Kuraly only moments later. However, Kuraly tries too hard to find a corner on Frederik Andersen and ends up missing the net high and wide.

Later on in the period, Boston gets their second opportunity on a man-advantage when Andreas Johnsson gets caught tripping Charlie McAvoy near the offensive blueline and he goes to the box for two minutes. Boston gets a few really good shots including a great chance for Bergeron off a rebound chance that hits the outside of the post, penalty comes to an end – back to even-strength.

Within the final few minutes of the middle regulation period, Boston makes a few bad turnovers that leads to a wide-open John Tavares with a chance to snipe one past Rask, but he takes a slash from Bergeron that makes him miss the net. Boston to the penalty-kill again. Tuukka Rask made two key saves on a pair of Matthews one-timers, giving Boston the chance to make the kill and they indeed do, five-on-five once again.

Not nearly as good as a period for Boston, but they manage to make it to the intermission tied at one.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 TOR: 25

Score: 1-1 – Goals: Matthews (14) Assists: Muzzin (8), Nylander (9)

Third Period:

No time wasted. Boston wins the opening faceoff of the period and they bring it in with Brad Marchand. Marchand takes a wrist shot on net and Andersen leaves a rebound right there for Marchand who shoots it again, this time crossing the goal line and the Bruins take a 2-1 lead eleven seconds into the third period of play.

Boston’s lead does not last long as less than four minutes into the third, the Bruins have a terrible miscommunication in their own zone, resulting in Kasperi Kapanen being all alone and he beats Rask with the shot. This hockey game is tied at two goals apiece with sixteen minutes left to play.

That does not last long either, Charlie Coyle works hard along the end boards behind Andersen, feeding Marchand in the slot. Marchand fakes a wrist shot as he gathers the puck, shoots a shot that’s blocked, but gets his own rebound to bury it again. Three goals in 4:57, Bruins score 1:12 after Toronto’s goal, 3-2 Bruins.

The B’s continue their offensive opportunities shortly after the midway mark of the third period as the first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak gets more than one really good chance to score, but Andersen stops it. Boston is putting a lot of shots towards the net, creating rebounds from the puck hitting either Andersen or the traffic in front of the net.

As the game is winding down, the Leafs are clearly trying for a hail mary play to tie this hockey game. They have iced the puck on numerous occasions in hopes of getting a long-distance pass for an odd-man rush. Boston has done a solid job thus far limiting speed in the neutral zone in the final regulation frame.

With 1:30 left to tick away, captain Zdeno Chara buries the empty-net goal to give Boston a two-goal advantage. Leafs captain John Tavares shatters his stick across the post in frustration and Boston will end their four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 34 TOR: 31

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 2 Goals (GWG), 7 Shots, 1 Hit, 18:21 TOI

2nd Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 29 Saves, .935 SV%

3rd Star: BOS F Charlie Coyle – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Shots, 1 Block, 19:13 TOI

Boston is right back at it tomorrow against the Washington Capitals in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins are now 12-3-4 on the season.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Game 19 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (CHARLES KRUPA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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

Only a few days removed from one of the worst third-periods in recent memory, the Boston Bruins are back against their Original Six rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in game one of a back-to-back this weekend. Sunday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers marked the fourth-consecutive loss by the Bruins, dropping their record to 11-3-4, but still hold the first place position in the Atlantic Division.

Toronto is not doing so hot as of late, either, losing two consecutive games and falling out of a playoff spot early on in the season. Not long after the return of captain John Tavares, the Leafs lost forward Mitch Marner for the next four weeks due to a high ankle sprain. Toronto also recently saw the return of forward Zach Hyman, but still lost a 5-4 game to the New York Islanders. The Leafs are ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 9-7-4 record.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 7-2-2 2.16 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 SO loss to FLA

TOR: Frederik Andersen (Likely) 9-3-3 2.72 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 loss to NYI

Who’s Hot:

Auston Matthews is one of the lone players not injured right now on the Maple Leafs so he is being tasked with the majority of the workload and he has stepped up to the plate. The superstar forward has points in five-straight games, improving his season numbers to 13-13-26 totals in 20 games played. Matthews has not scored a goal in the last three games, but has tallied seven assists in those games including a four-assist effort against the Chicago Blackhawks on November 10th.

Surprisingly, Danton Heinen has been really good for the Bruins as of late. The 24-year-old forward only has 4-4-8 numbers in 18 games in 2019-2020, but has scored points in each of the last two games. The Athletic’s Joe McDonald, (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter), wrote an article on Friday about the recent play of Heinen and how even though he hasn’t come big on the score sheet, he still has played a great game – improving his net-front play and strength along the boards. Heinen has become a great versatile player and that article highlights that.

David Krejci has dealt with some early-season injuries that has halted his play, but yet the veteran center still has 2-7-9 numbers in 12 games and has six points in his last five games. Against the Panthers, Krejci played 17:34 of ice-time and tallied two assists on Anders Bjork’s power-play marker and Zdeno Chara’s third of the year. Both assists were primary helpers.

Who’s Not:

Kasperi Kapanen is going to be relied on a bit more with the absence of Mitch Marner and for the Maple Leafs, that production is going to need to come sooner rather than later. The Kuopio, Finland native has five goals and six assists for eleven points in 20 games on the campaign, but only has one point in his last five games – a goal scored against the Islanders. Kapanen, 24, signed a three-year contract extension with Toronto worth $3.2 million per season last summer.

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said recently that defenceman’s Charlie McAvoy’s play as of late has not been bad, but the production levels are just not there right now. Without power-play quarterback Torey Krug in the lineup, McAvoy needs to put up more points than his 0-4-4 numbers show now. It may be a lot to ask of him to play better offensively when he has been decent on the defensive side, but successful teams have showed that offensive threats on the blueline can pay off in the long and short term.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Brad Marchand is playing in his 700th career NHL regular-season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (214) from passing Cam Neely (214) for sole possession of 6th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one power-play goal away (99) from 100 career NHL power-play goals

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F John Tavares is three assists away (397) from 400 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Leafs Outlook:

It is only November 15th and this is the third meeting of four between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2019-2020 NHL regular-season, with the fourth and final game taking place on March 14th in Boston. So far this season, the Bruins are winning the season series with a regulation win and an overtime loss back in October.

Friday’s contest in Toronto will be another battle of two teams dealing with injuries. For Boston, they will be without forwards Jake DeBrusk (lower-body), David Backes (upper-body), Zach Senyshyn (lower-body), and Karson Kuhlman (leg) as well as defensemen Torey Krug (upper-body), Kevan Miller (lower-body), and John Moore (upper-body). Forward Trent Frederic has been called up to the NHL and will play tonight as well. The Maple Leafs will be without forward Mitch Marner (ankle) and forward Alexander Kerfoot (face).

Boston’s power-play fell to third in the league at 30.5%, but still has a dangerous man-advantage along with their 82.1% penalty-kill percentage (13th in NHL). Toronto’s power-play needs work at 17.6%, while their penalty-kill is not much better at a 75.3% success rate so far this season.

The six most recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductees will be in attendance tonight as the Bruins and Maple Leafs host the annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game in the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Toronto: 10/19/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JOHN E. SOKOLOWSKI-USA TODAY SPORTS)

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

After their first post-regulation loss of the new season, the Boston Bruins look to rebound right away with a win in the first game of the home-and-home series against the Maple Leafs. Boston managed to force overtime and eventually a shootout with a late third-period goal from David Pastrnak, (8-5-13) in their 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In Toronto’s last outing, they took a 4-3 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals, just one day removed of their win over the Minnesota Wild. The Leafs will be without forward John Tavares (finger) for the next few weeks and will miss both games against the Bruins.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Boston Bruins (5-1-1)

Away: Toronto Maple Leafs (4-3-1)

Bruins Last Game: 4-3 loss vs TBL (SO)

Bruins Gameday Lineups:

Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (upper-body) and Joakim Nordstrom (upper-body) did not make the trip to Toronto and according to Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, are considered day-to-day at this moment. Forward Patrice Bergeron missed practice yesterday after blocking a shot against Tampa Bay, but he will be in the lineup tonight.

First Period:

In the early three minutes of the game, the Bruins are taking control of the road-building with pressure, forecheck, and four shots on goal in the opening three minutes. Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock immediately made sure Matthews did not play against the Bergeron line due to the defensive shut down. Good start for Boston.

The great start for Boston was stopped by a goal by the Maple Leafs roughly six minutes into the period. Morgan Rielly took a shot from the point that hit Brandon Carlo right in the chest and bounced down, between the legs of Jaroslav Halak and Toronto takes a 1-0 lead at home. Tough break for the Bruins who were playing good all-around.

After the goal, there was some pushing and shoving around the benches between Andreas Johnsson, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand that settled itself out. At almost the same time, Alex Kerfoot gets a breakaway chance that is shut down by Halak, setting up Jake DeBrusk the other way for a breakaway of his own that Andersen stops. Good action continues for both teams.

Toronto began to pick up the pace and momentum after the opening goal, getting more rushes into the zone and more chances on Halak. Bruins still hold a lead in the shot department, 11-10, but it is clear that the first goal was a big one for the Leafs. Boston needs to get a goal back before the end of the period to slow down the momentum.

That is the complete opposite of what happens as Sean Kuraly fails to clear the puck out of his own zone and it goes right to Dmytro Timashov who makes a subtle fake before sniping it past Halak, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead late in the first period. The goal is the first career goal of Timashov’s NHL career, a big one for the Leafs.

Needing a big goal before the intermission, the Bruins switch up the lines, resulting in a second-line of DeBrusk, Coyle, and Wagner. The hard forecheck behind the Leafs net eventually leads to Coyle taking the puck and finding Jake DeBrusk wide-open in the slot. DeBrusk finally buries his first of the 2019-20 season and the Bruins cut into the Toronto lead, it’s 2-1. The period ends after that.

Note: Before the Bruins’ goal, Jake DeBrusk took a hard slapshot towards the net that hit what appears to be the inside of the foot of Karson Kuhlman who showed clear pain and went off the ice and did not return. However, there were only less than two minutes left to tick away before intermission, but it is something to keep an eye out for.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 18 TOR: 15

Score: 2-1 Maple Leafs – Goals: Rielly (1) Assists: Marner (7), Johnsson (3); Timashov (1) Assists: Gauthier (1); DeBrusk (1) Assists: Coyle (2), Wagner (2)

Second Period:

As the play starts up again following the intermission, it is worth noting that Kuhlman is on the Bruins bench to begin the second period. A scare for Boston who needs his speed and threat, but he seems to be alright.

The first penalty of the hockey game comes less than two minutes into the middle frame as Ilya Mikeyev takes a holding penalty on Jake DeBrusk and the Bruins head to the power-play that is 8-for-21 to start the season. However, Boston did not have the best man-advantage that they could have had, with some decent chances shorthanded by Toronto. The B’s do get a couple shots from McAvoy and Heinen late on the power-play, but the Leafs ultimately kill it off and we return to 5-on-5.

Roughly eight minutes into the frame, the Bruins have one of their best shifts of the game. They did a great job cycling the puck around Toronto’s zone, generating some great chances to tie the game. Brett Ritchie did a nice job tossing the puck towards the crease for an open Patrice Bergeron, but he narrowly missed a wide-open net. Later on, Par Lindholm keeps it in the zone and skates it further in before drawing a tripping penalty – Boston to their second power-play.

Power-play ends without a goal for the B’s, but they had some good chances that were either stopped or missed the net. The best chance was off of a brilliant passing play that created a great chance for DeBrusk who hit the side of the net. Boston now 0-for-2 on the man-advantage tonight with some improvements from the first one.

With 3:19 left in the second, David Backes tries to drive the puck towards the net but collides hard with Frederik Andersen. The whistle blows and the referee calls for a penalty, assuming it is goaltender interference, but it turns out to be coincidental minor penalties due to roughing by Marincin after the play, 4-on-4. Right away on the 4-on-4, Kuraly makes another bad turnover that leads to a great chance for Toronto – but Halak makes a big save.

In the dying seconds, the Bruins have yet another strong shift that draws a hooking penalty and the Maple Leafs are back on the penalty-kill. The second-period ends before Boston can capitalize. Either way, a much-better period for the Bruins, just could not score a goal. It’ll come with that play, though.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 TOR: 18

Score: 2-1 Maple Leafs

Third Period:

The Bruins finally strike on the power-play. Brett Ritchie does a nice job passing it across the zone to find Danton Heinen who rips one top-shelf past Andersen for his second goal of the season and the Bruins equalize the game. Heinen becomes the first Bruin aside from the first-line to score two goals in 2019-20.

The tie was short-lived, only 61 seconds after Boston’s power-play marker, Alex Kerfoot finds the puck in the slot and backhands an odd shot past Halak who was off-balance in the crease and the Maple Leafs take back a one-goal lead in the third period. Charlie Coyle did a poor job staying on Kerfoot, leading to the goal against.

The Bruins have had a few good chances to tie it up once again in the final regulation period, but Andersen has been stellar between the pipes and the Leafs are starting to play better defense while getting some good offensive opportunities as well. Just over eight minutes to go and the Bruins have reached the 40-shot mark.

At the 15:34 mark of the period, Marchand makes a nice neutral zone dangle to bring the puck into the zone, feeds it to Bergeron whose shot gets partially blocked. Bergeron does a good job working for the puck back, allowing him to pass it to Marchand who quickly gets it off to Pastrnak for a blistering one-timer that beats Andersen. Quick offense and we are tied 3-3.

After an incredibly entertaining period of hockey, this game heads to the always-exciting 3-on-3 overtime.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 44 TOR: 27

Score: 3-3 – Goals: Heinen (2) PPG Assists: Ritchie (1), Pastrnak (6); Kerfoot (3) Assists: Muzzin (3), Mikheyev (4); Pastrnak (9) Assists: Marchand (8), Bergeron (6)

Overtime:

The Maple Leafs have the best chances to win the game in overtime throughout the first couple of minutes. Charlie Coyle has been poor defensively tonight and that came out in the overtime session, making poor judgements but fortunately, the Bruins and Halak are able to save him.

Late in the 3-on-3 OT, the Bruins are stuck on the ice, showing clear signs of exhaustion in the defensive end. That only allows Auston Matthews to set up Mitch Marner in the high slot for a one-timer that beats Jaro Halak, Leafs win in overtime by a final score of 4-3. Great game, but Bruins just got caught.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 45 TOR: 29

Final Score: 4-3 Maple Leafs

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: TOR G Frederik Andersen – 42 Saves, .933 SV%

2nd Star: TOR F Mitch Marner – 1 Goal (Game-Winning), 1 Assist, 4 Shots

3rd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 1 Goal (Game-Tying), 1 Assist, 23:58 TOI

Boston returns home to the TD Garden for the second-consecutive game against Toronto to end the home-and-home series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST on Tuesday.

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.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

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.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins’ Tuukka Rask Having MVP Caliber Postseason

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes

( Photo Credit: CBSSports.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter:  @yanlatz

The Bruins are going on an absolute tear this postseason and are getting contributions from up and down the lineup. On Thursday night, the Bruins advanced to their third Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2011, and Tuukka Rask is a big reason why.

A lot has been said about Tuukka Rask and his inconsistency in the playoffs throughout his career in Boston (and I’ll admit, I was one of those people). It seemed as though he could not break through and become the performer that the Bruins needed to get past strong teams like the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018. That perception has all been changed this season, and Tuukka Rask has emerged as the clear Conn Smyth trophy winner as the MVP of the playoffs.

The Bruins this offseason went out and signed Jaroslav Halak, a veteran starting goaltender to split the time in the regular season with Tuukka Rask. The two goaltenders split the regular season virtually equally with Halak getting 37 starts and Rask with 45 in order to keep Rask fresh for a deep playoff run – and boy has that worked out well. A lot of folks also think the signing was to have a solid Plan B if Tuukka struggled at all during the postseason.

In the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tuukka Rask and Frederik Anderson went head to head which was a great goaltending battle. Despite the Leafs taking the Bruins to a game seven again, Tuukka Rask stood on his head in the final game of the first round and defeated the Maple Leafs with 32 saves on 33 shots for a .970 save percentage and a 5-1 victory.

In the Eastern Conference second-round series, Tuukka and the Black ‘N Gold saw the Columbus Blue Jackets and two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Another monster goaltending matchup and Tuukka stole the show. After game five, Blue Jackets coach stated that his team “dented” Tuukka Rask with three late third period goals. However, when game six came around, Tuukka Rask was clearly unfazed by the coaches comments and posted a 39 save shutout that propelled the Bruins into the Eastern Conference Finals.

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In Tuukka Rask’s career Conference Finals, he has not lost a single game in his career. In 2013, Rask and the Bruins swept Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East Finals to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. On Thursday night, Rask would continue his Eastern Conference Finals dominance and remains a perfect 8-0 and becomes just the seventh goaltender in NHL history to win at least eight straight games in the conference finals.

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In Game three against Carolina in Raleigh, the Hurricanes came out buzzing, and Tuukka stood on his head once again for the Bruins as the Hurricanes peppered Rask with 20 shots in the first period but did not beat number 40 in Black ‘N Gold. Rask gave the Bruins a chance to take a three nothing series lead, and they might be playing a game five on Saturday night if it wasn’t for Tuukka’s performance in game three.

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In series-clinching games in these playoffs, Rask stopped 90 of 91 shots with a 5-1 win against Toronto in game seven, a 3-0 shutout against Columbus in game six, and a 4-0 shutout in game four against Carolina.

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Rask’s play has been nothing short of amazing this postseason and who better to compare this year’s Tuukka Rask to 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff MVP Tim Thomas.

Through the 2011 Conference Finals, Tim Thomas posted a 12-6 record with a 2.29 goals against average and a .929 save percentage along with two shutouts. Through the 2019 Conference Finals, Tuukka Rask has posted a 12-5 record with a 1.84 (!!) goals against average and a .942 save percentage with two shutouts. Rask also passed Gerry Cheevers and Tim Thomas with three series-clinching shutouts that are the most in Boston Bruins history.

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Tuukka Rask has by far been nothing short of incredible this season and has shown up all the Rask haters and doubters in which I will admit, I had doubted him before. But, I am so proud to admit that I was wrong and happy for Tuukka and the Bruins. He is the clear-cut favorite for the Conn Smyth trophy thus far, and it really isn’t even close. Whoever the Bruins face in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, it will be a tough matchup for the Bruins, but if Tuukka Rask plays like he has been this postseason, the Bruins have a very good chance of hoisting Lord Stanley.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECQF Game 7: Toronto at Boston

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Tonight, it ends. The first-round matchup between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs see yet another Game 7. Both teams have had strong games, weak games, and everything in between. For one team, they move on to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round Two, the other heads home for the offseason.

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (3-3)

Away: Toronto Maple Leafs (3-3)

Last Game Result: Bruins won 4-2

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Everything remains the same for the Bruins after Sunday’s Game 6 victory in Toronto. Tuukka Rask and Frederik Andersen are the starting goaltenders for Boston and Toronto.

First Period:

Right out of the gate, the Bruins attacked the Leafs defence with some quick shots and a close wraparound shot by David Pastrnak. Frederik Andersen seemed a tad bit slow on the wraparound but makes the save nonetheless. Boston looking not too bad to start off this Game 7. Not too long after, Tuukka Rask makes a large save for himself on Auston Matthews right in the slot.

Later in the early stages to the period, the Bruins with some solid shots on goal or some that just miss by a hair. Torey Krug lightens up the crowd even more than they already are with a huge hit on Trevor Moore that knocks his helmet off. After a solid Game 6, Krug is looking to have another big playoff game tonight.

As the period continued, Boston seemed to relax a little or Toronto just had their legs more. Both teams commit numerous icings consecutively but the Leafs are the ones getting shots and pressure on the Bruins defence. Tuukka Rask has made some good stops including some huge saves on Mitch Marner but the B’s need to be better defensively.

With around five minutes to go in the opening frame, the Bruins fourth line strikes first. Noel Acciari picks off a breakout pass by the Maple Leafs just on the line, feeding it to Sean Kuraly. Kuraly drives the puck in deeper, getting a shot on, but it is Joakim Nordstrom that somehow beats Andersen right in front of him. The puck found the smallest gap imaginable and quite frankly, I’m not sure Nordstrom even saw that opening. No matter what, Bruins are up 1-0 late in the first.

With the crowd going crazy in the TD Garden, Jake Gardiner makes a terrible turnover behind his own net with Kuhlman close behind him, leading the puck to Marcus Johansson who spins and shoots the puck past Andersen. Johansson finally gets on the board for his first goal of the postseason and Boston takes a big 2-0 lead late in the frame. With the constant pressure on the top-six by the Leafs, the Bruins’ bottom-six needs to show up and so far, they are.

As the final seconds tick away, Boston nearly strikes again with some good chances by DeBrusk, (who is all over the puck tonight) and Pastrnak. However, Andersen makes a big toe save and we enter the first intermission.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 11 TOR: 12

Score: 2-0 Bruins – Goals: Nordstrom (2) Assists: Grzelcyk (4), Kuraly (1); Johansson (1) Unassisted

Second Period:

In the first five minutes, Bruins get some chances off a long airborne pass to Pastrnak but some fanned shots don’t result into anything. Exactly 3:54 into the period, John Tavares comes onto the ice, gets the puck, and snipes one far-side on Tuukka Rask to cut into Boston’s lead. Tyler Ennis does a great job taking the puck away from the Bruins player – resulting in the goal. 2-1 Bruins early in the second.

The goal for Toronto gave them tons of momentum as the Matthews line puts hard pressure on with some high-quality shots and chances but with the help of Rask’s play in net, Boston keeps it 2-1. The Bruins need a big hit or preferably, another goal to shift the momentum once again.

Eight minutes into the second, Zdeno Chara does a great job pinching to keep the puck in the offensive zone. As a result, Danton Heinen rips a wrist shot at Andersen’s chest, leaving a juicy rebound for Brad Marchand. Marchand shifts the puck to his backhand but cannot lift the shot over the sprawling Andersen. Extremely close opportunity to extend the lead to two goals again.

In a net-front battle, Brandon Carlo cross-checks the back of Andreas Johnsson and the officials are not going to have it and Carlo goes to the box for two minutes. I personally think it is a weak call, but it is called so Boston heads to the penalty-kill. The Maple Leafs get some close calls with the scary threats of Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Rielly but a lot of missed shots keep it a one-goal game. Boston successfully kills off the penalty.

Even though the game is back to 5-on-5, Boston is allowing the Leafs to walk all around their zone and they fully rely on Tuukka Rask in the net. Fortunately, Rask has made some big saves but the five skaters on the ice wearing the Spoked-B are chasing the Maple Leafs and cannot form any sort of breakout whatsoever.

Eventually, the Bruins get some offensive control of their own and the team is able to make a successful line change while in Toronto’s zone. In the final six minutes or so, the B’s have been able to shut down a lot of the chances against Rask and they have looked a bit better since the goal by Tavares.

With all of that, the second period ends there – only twenty minutes remain in Game Seven. The Boston Bruins finished the frame with a lot better pressure and much better control. Not as many shots, but a good end to the period. Also, some post-whistle pushing and shoving before we head into the second intermission.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 TOR: 25

Score: 2-1 Bruins – Goals: Tavares (2) Assists: Ennis (2)

Third Period:

Twenty minutes to go… and the Bruins strike early. Noel Acciari leaves the puck for Sean Kuraly in the neutral zone. Kuraly weaves into the Leafs zone with slick hands and snipes it clean past Rask. The clutch play by Sean Kuraly in the playoffs continue with this massive insurance goal less than three minutes into the third period. He has been a key player for Boston in the two games that he has returned.

With 14:41 to go in the third, the linesman catches the Bruins with six players on the ice – too-many-men – a bench minor that will put Boston to the penalty-kill for the second time tonight. Boston kills off the penalty will almost ease and it is back to 5-on-5, impressive to be honest.

As the minutes go by, the Bruins play gets better and better. All of a sudden, the Maple Leafs are having trouble entering the zone, especially Mitch Marner and John Tavares. Boston is not laying back, but not taking risks either. It is a calm style of game for the Bruins right now and it is exactly what they want.

Toronto did not have many great opportunities to score in the final regulation period, except for a close call that took a weird bounce off of the post. Mike Babcock pulled Andersen with roughly three minutes to go in the game and Sean Kuraly makes a nice play to allow Krejci to find Charlie Coyle who buries it in the open cage. Bruins take a 4-1 lead and are only minutes away from round two. Bergeron added an empty-net goal in the final seconds to make it 5-1.

And with that, the Boston Bruins eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games and advance to the second round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 32 TOR: 33

Final: 5-1 Bruins – BOS wins series 4-3

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 28 Saves, .970 SV%

2nd Star: BOS F Sean Kuraly – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Shots, 50% Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F Joakim Nordstrom – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Shots

7 Factors That Will Decide Game 7 Between the Bruins and Maple Leafs

Illustration for article titled Tuukka Rask Ruined The Maple Leafs' Best And Maybe Last Chance

(Claus Andersen-Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

Goaltending

I mean, of course this was going to be on the list. We’ve seen really strong, and really weak goaltending from both Tuukka Rask and Frederik Anderson over the past two series. Outside of a softy or two from both guys, the two have been really solid throughout the first six games of this series. Rask has a .921 save percentage with a 2.54 GAA and Anderson has a .925 SV% and a 2.70 GAA. With the potency of both offenses and some questionable defense by both teams, I can’t see this being a 1-0 game. There will be goals, it’s just a matter of who can make the saves when it matters.

Can the Offensive Stars Produce?

The superstars on both sides have been very on and off all series. Austin Matthews has lead the way for Toronto, scoring five goals in the six games (but in all honesty, hasn’t really dominated at any point). The Bruins top defensive pair of Charlie Mcavoy and Zdeno Chara have done an excellent job shutting down the John Tavares and Mitch Marner line, but with all of that talent, how long can that last?

The trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have been very streaky throughout the series for the Bruins. We all know how dangerous they can be when they’re on their game (they all absolutely torched the Leafs last series) but something has been off with them this series and for the Bruins sake, that better change.

Leafs vs Bruins

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Special Teams

We’ve seen how important special teams have been in this series and throughout the entire playoffs. The Nashville Predators just fell to the Dallas Stars, largely in part to their horrendous powerplay (going 0-15 in the series). Boston and Toronto both have very good powerplays, with Toronto converting on 21.4% of their PP chances and the Bruins scoring on a staggering 43.8% of their chances. There’s no question the game will be a chippy one and I’d assume the referees arms will stay down for most of the game, but when a penalty is called, converting on that opportunity will be huge.

Forechecking

In Game 7 last year, the Bruins hard-nosed forechecking was a big reason why they were able to come back and take the lead late. In the games the Bruins have lost this series, they haven’t been able to maintain consistent pressure in the Leafs zone. The Maple Leafs defense is very susceptible to making mistakes with the puck when pressured so that needs to be the Bruins #1 priority throughout this game.

Forechecking obviously isn’t just a component of the Bruins game, it’s just as important for the Leafs to keep the pressure on the Bs. Putting pressure on smaller guys like Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk will be huge for the Maple Leafs, they’re easier to out-muscle compared to the rest of the d-core and getting them to cough up the puck will lead to big-time chances for Toronto. Isolating Zdeno Chara is also just as key, as he certainly doesn’t have the legs to keep up with Toronto’s speedy forwards.

Depth Scoring

Depth scoring is a key component of every single game and it’s just magnified in the playoffs. Guys like Charlie Coyle and Andreas Johnsson (who both have had very strong series) have key roles with their respective clubs. If the big names aren’t able to step up, look for these middle-six guys to pick up the slack.

(Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Maintaining a Lead

Scoring the first goal is massive, but keeping that lead is even more important. The team that has been ahead going into the third period has won every game this series and with every player fighting for their playoff lives, there’s sure to be a lot of pressure on both sides of the bench. Looking at the history between these two teams, the Maple Leafs have held the lead going in to the 3rd period in the past two game 7s, but have lost both after outstanding comebacks by the Bruins. If the Maple Leafs or the Bruins want to get to the next round, maintaining a lead will be the reason they get there.

Matchups

Despite having a combined -10 rating in the series, Nikita Zaitzev and Jake Muzzin have done a pretty good job at keeping the Bruins top line in check. Unlike last series, the Bruins top line hasn’t been nearly as good. They haven’t been able to maintain possession of the puck quite as much and their cycling game, which leads to the majority of their chances, is nothing like it has been all season long. If Toronto wants to keep this line at bay, trying to keep this matchup will be their best bet.

As I said before, Mcavoy and Chara have done an excellent job holding Tavares and Marner to minimal offense in this series. With last change and home ice advantage, coach Bruce Cassidy will have to be on his game to keep the matchups in he wants throughout his lineup.

Regardless of the outcome, this should be a great game as it always is. I’ve had Bruins in seven from the start and I’m sticking with that pick. Go Bs.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECQF Game 5: Toronto at Boston

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

On Wednesday night, the Boston Bruins tied up their Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 6-4 victory in Toronto. With the win, Boston regains home-ice advantage in what is now a best-of-three series. The winner of tonight’s Game 5 will have the opportunity to end the series on Sunday in Game 6.

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (2-2)

Away: Toronto Maple Leafs (2-2)

Last Game Result: Bruins won 6-4

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Sean Kuraly makes his long-awaited return to the lineup after dealing with a hand injury since late March while Joakim Nordstrom is the healthy scratch to allow Kuraly back in the forward lines.

First Period:

The first period for this critical Game 5 was back and forth for all twenty minutes but at no time did either team “dominate” the other. Bruce Cassidy went with the Wagner-Kuraly-Acciari against that top line of the Maple Leafs off the opening draw, but as the period went on, we began to see more of a Bergeron/Tavares matchup on the ice.

The Leafs did have a lot of pressure in the offensive zone, putting some good shots on Tuukka Rask in the first half of the period, but the Bruins managed to get the puck out of the zone most of the time. On too many occasions, Toronto had possession of the puck and winning the battles along the boards.

Regardless, Rask made the saves he needed to make and Boston did get a few opportunities on some rushes of their own. Both Toronto and Boston stayed firm in the defensive zone, protecting the middle of the ice and forcing the offence to use the outside of the zone to get their chances. Neither team is making many mistakes and it made for a tight frame.

With three minutes to go, Zach Hyman gets called on a tripping minor that many people think was a light call, however, Boston is going to the first power-play of the game. On the man-advantage, both David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk get close chances, but either the shot missed the cage, or was stopped by Frederik Andersen. Bruins cannot score and the buzzer sounds for the first.

After the whistle, Auston Matthews took some shots at Zdeno Chara to try and get under the skin of the captain but to no avail. It was much better last six minutes for the Bruins than Toronto and that momentum needs to be used heading into an important second period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 6 TOR: 7

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Toronto opens the second period with some good shots but Tuukka Rask looks a lot calmer and relaxed at this stage of the game compared to Wednesday in Toronto. Auston Matthews took some shots at the chest of Rask as well as some slight deflection shots but score stays scoreless.

Less than five minutes into the frame, Boston begins to make some passes around the Maple Leafs’ zone, resulting in a hooking minor against Patrick Marleau on David Krejci. Some of the best chances so far on the end of either team came from that man-advantage, including a Pastrnak one-timer that bounced off of Andersen’s pads. Other than that, the Leafs kill the penalty off and we return to 5-on-5.

Nearing the halfway mark of the middle regulation period, the Bruins get a chance off of  Brad Marchand wrist shot that leaves a sneaky rebound to David Pastrnak. Pastrnak’s rebound is batted off of the iron and the side of Andersen and remains out of the net. The Bruins continue the strong offence, but the Leafs are exhausted. A bouncing puck around the boards leads to Mitch Marner who golf swings his stick, hitting the puck up and over the glass – delay-of-game penalty and B’s are back to the power-play.

A weird bouncing rebound off Andersen somehow sets up Kasperi Kapanen on a shorthanded breakaway. Fortunately, Kapanen misses the net high and wide. Bruins, still on the man-advantage, turn it over in the neutral zone, leading Hyman to drive into the zone. Hyman is cut off but crashes hard into the end boards. He is slow to get up to his feet, similar to Game 4. Ultimately, Hyman remains on the bench in some discomfort and the Bruins’ terrible power-play ends there.

Easily the best chance of the game so far comes from David Krejci’s stick. Marchand left the puck for Krejci who took a quick shot and it appeared to cross the line. Even Pastrnak thought it went in, but the call on the ice was no goal by the official by the net. After seeing the replay, the shot rifled where the crossbar and the post meet, cleanly beating Andersen but the game remains nodded at zero.

Late in the frame, still 0-0, Tyler Ennis makes a strong move to the net around Matt Grzelcyk, curling in front of Rask but Tuukka stays strong and firm, stopping the chance cleanly. About a minute following, Kapanen takes a rip at Rask as well and cannot find the back of the net. Game 5 heads into the third and final period with a 0-0 tie.

It has been a very tight, defense-first type of hockey game with neither team giving up a chance to score or even get high-quality shots on goal. Only a combined 31 shots have hit the goaltenders and that is due to the lack of shots hitting the net and the high traffic in the slot area. In addition to the middle-heavy defence, shots are coming from the point. It really seems like the next goal scored with be the game-winning tally.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 15 TOR: 16

Score: 0-0

Third Period:

In a game where it truly seems like the next goal will win it, both teams come out with Boston taking the best chances early. A few icing calls against Toronto led to some shots against the tired Leafs unit. Sean Kuraly also got a short rush and ripped a quick wrister that hit Travis Dermott and then fell over top of Dermott. Good chances but still nothing.

Not long after, the Leafs try to get a rush of their own with Connor Brown, who has had a great game all over the ice, takes a shot that hits the side of the cage and gloved down by Rask. At the same time, Brown gets absolutely levelled by Chris Wagner with a hard collision. Charlie Coyle came right back with one of his own as well. Not many hard hits, but Boston may look to go that route at this stage.

With around 12 minutes left to tick away in the third, right before the TV timeout, the Bruins are called on a too-many-men call. A tough call to hear – sending Toronto to their first power-play of the night. Toronto blasted some bombs and got some solid shots on net too, but Boston holds on to kill the entire two minutes off.

With 8:27 remaining, Jake Muzzin makes a brilliant feed to Auston Matthews on the opposite side of the zone who blasts it past Rask to finally put a goal on the board. However, Cassidy challenges for goalie interference on Zach Hyman. On the screen, it appears that there was some contact with Rask in front of the net, but the call on the ice stands – good goal. 1-0 Toronto.

The game started to open up following that goal and it showed. Some intelligent passes by the Leafs lead to a 3-on-2 rush for Toronto – leading to a Kapanen goal past Tuukka Rask. After a tight forty minutes, Toronto takes a 2-0 lead in the game and the Bruins are looking in a tough spot.

The trio of Coyle, McAvoy, and Johansson had some fantastic chances in the dying three minutes with Rask on the bench but somehow the puck never crossed the goal line. Every time it appeared to be close, Andersen or a defenceman somehow got a piece of the puck.

With the goalie pulled, amazing patience by Pastrnak to fake a shot and pass it to Krejci on the other side of Frederik Andersen leads to the first goal for Boston with 43.4 seconds to go. There is some life in not only the players but the fans as well.

The Boston Bruins had a few shots, including one off the faceoff with one second remaining, but too little way too late and the Toronto Maple Leafs win Game 5 on the road, taking a 3-2 series lead heading back to Toronto on Sunday.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 TOR: 27

Final Score: 2-1 Maple Leafs

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: TOR G Frederik Andersen – 28 Saves, .966 SV%

2nd Star: TOR F Kasperi Kapanen – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Shots, 15:56 TOI

3rd Star: TOR F Auston Matthews – 1 Game-Winning Goal, 5 Shots, 17:44 TOI

With Boston’s season on the line, the series goes back to Toronto on Sunday for Game 6. Puck drop scheduled for 3pm EST.

Boston Bruins Playoff Preview: Round 1 – Game 3

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

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

After a pair of games in Boston, the first-round matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs officially makes its way to Toronto, Canada for Game Three. The Bruins tied the series on Saturday with a 4-1 victory after losing Game One by the same score on Thursday.

Game Three Information:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Toronto Maple Leafs

Away: Boston Bruins

Series: 1-1

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 1-1-0 .937 SV% 2.02 GAA Last Game: 30 Saves in 4-1 win vs TOR

TOR: Frederik Andersen 1-1-0 .937 SV% 2.50 GAA Last Game: 37 Saves in 4-1 loss vs TOR

Projected Bruins Lineup:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Heinen – Coyle – Backes

Nordstrom – Acciari – Wagner

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Kampfer

Per reports from Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, forward Jake DeBrusk and defenceman Torey Krug will be in the lineup for Game Three. DeBrusk took a cross-check to the head by Nazem Kadri, who is facing an in-person hearing today and left the game while Krug left Game Two after taking a massive hit from Jake Muzzin. Connor Clifton (upper-body) is out, Kampfer to replace him and Marcus Johansson remains out with an illness.

Who’s Hot

Charlie Coyle scored the game’s first goal on Saturday, ultimately giving the Bruins the confidence to continue out the game, but his play has been consistent throughout the series so far. Even in the loss in Game One, Coyle had numerous chances and opportunities to score but just could not bury one and he continued that in the second game. With the loss of Leafs’ third line centre, Nazem Kadri, Coyle’s role could be all the more important.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Frederik Andersen may have allowed four goals on Saturday night, but he was one of the only good things that came from Toronto in their Game Two loss. Andersen stopped 37 of the 41 shots Boston threw at him, making some big saves throughout the entire game in order to keep it within reach for the Maple Leafs. If Andersen can continue to be hot in the net at home in the Scotiabank Arena, then the Leafs could have the momentum moving forward.

Jake DeBrusk does not have a point in either of the two games, but his usual work-horse attitude and play were present in both games, but especially in Game Two. DeBrusk managed to get under the skin of Kadri, resulting in the terrible cross-check by the Leafs forward. Jake had four hits on the night and was a beast on the forecheck, as he often is during gametime. It is only a matter of time for when that first goal comes.

Mitch Marner was held to zero points in Game Two, but in Game One, it was all him, scoring a pair of goals including a short-handed penalty shot past Tuukka Rask. Marner played 20:28 on Saturday night with over six minutes of speciality team time as well. Mitch could arguably be the biggest threat for the Bruins defence for the entirety of the series.

Who’s Not

William Nylander has had a rough 2018-19 season in general, with all the contract issues and then the lack of production once he started to play again, but that was only amplified on Saturday night in Boston, as he found himself on the wrong end of too many negative plays, including a terrible mishap that led to Heinen’s 3-0 goal for the B’s. The young forward also had a team-high three giveaways during his 13:56 TOI. Nylander was skating down the middle on the Leafs’ third line, replacing Kadri.

For all of the players that were struggling on the Bruins after the first game, did much better for the second. Every single player on the Bruins roster played their part and did their job to ultimately get the win and tie the series at one apiece. Boston will look to continue that ideology moving forward into Game Three.

Jake Muzzin had a terrible night on the Leafs blue line and only had one good play – a huge hit that injured Torey Krug. Other than that, Muzzin turned the puck over twice (on the statsheet), and made a crucial error that led to Marchand’s first-period tally. When Torey Krug lofted a puck up the ice, Muzzin tried to grab it with his hand, missing, leading to a 2-on-1 for Pastrnak and Marchand, leading to one of the best goals so far in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Muzzin is supposed to be the best defenceman on the roster for Toronto and he needs to be better.

Bruins vs Leafs – Game Three Outlook

The script was flipped on Saturday when the Bruins came back from a dismal Game One to dominate for a 4-1 final score. A change from Game One, the Bruins were aggressive on the forecheck and made a successful hit on every Leafs player that moved at any place on the ice. Even players like David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk were throwing the body.

The physical play of Boston kept the Leafs weary and afraid to push into the zone further, as a lot of their shots on goal came from the point and far along the boards. Their only goal came off of a deflection from one of these point shots and that strategy could be evident in Game Three.

Boston’s shots came right around the net of Frederik Andersen, mainly due to the turnovers on breakout passes by the Maple Leafs defenseman. One of the best chances that did not cross the red line came off of a turnover in the slot, leading to a David Krejci shot and a rebound from Heinen that was robbed by Andersen.

Regardless, the goaltenders of both teams will need to be on fire once again and the defence will need to prevent chances. No matter how far this series goes, that narrative will be the case for both franchises. Toronto will also have the home-ice for the first time this postseason, so expect an energetic Toronto crowd.

Game Three puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—

Boston Bruins Playoffs Preview: Round 1 – Game 1

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

It’s Stanley Cup Playoff time, baby.

For the 16th time in league history, the Boston Bruins will meet the Toronto Maple Leafs in an Original Six, best-of-seven series in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Coming into the postseason, the Bruins and the Leafs have been atop the regular season standings for much of the year, with the Bruins finishing second in the Atlantic division and third in the NHL. The Maple Leafs concluded the 2018-19 campaign third in the Atlantic but finished as the seventh-best team in the NHL’s league standings.

Game One Information:

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (49-24-9)

Away: Toronto Maple Leafs (46-28-8)

Series: 0-0

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 27-13-5 .912 SV% 2.48 GAA Last Game: 16 Saves in 6-3 loss to TBL

TOR: Frederik Andersen 36-16-7 .917 SV% 2.77 GAA Last Game: 44 Saves in 6-5 loss to MTL

Boston Bruins Starting Lineup:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman 

Johansson – Coyle – Heinen

Nordstrom – Acciari – Wagner

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton 

Who’s Hot

Brad Marchand has had an incredible 2018-19 season for not only the Bruins but himself as well. The Nova Scotia native hit the 100-point plateau to become the first player in a Bruins sweater since Joe Thornton to hit such mark. Dating back to March 1st, Marchand has 10-15-25 numbers within those sixteen games and he looks to continue that dominance against Toronto.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (tsn.ca)

In that same time span, it was offseason signing John Tavares that led the Maple Leafs in points since the beginning of March, scoring eleven goals, nine assists, for 20 points in 18 games played. Tavares finished the year with 47-41-88 numbers in a full 82-game season, the highest single-season point total in his entire NHL career that dates back to the 2009-10 season.

Patrice Bergeron has been quite hot for the Bruins all season – as usual. The 33-year-old Canadian set a new career-high with 79 points on the season. Bergeron has scored ten goals and helped out on eleven others for 21 totals points in the last 17 games since March 1st. Bergeron’s linemates David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have been reaping the benefits from Bergeron’s stellar season offensively and defensively.

Mitch Marner will be the next Maple Leaf to have some serious contract issues to sort out once the playoffs conclude but in the meantime, Marner will continue to be a serious threat to the opposing defence and goaltenders for years to come. Marner tallied 4-15-19 numbers in the last fifteen games he played in, extending his season totals to 26-68-94 in all of the 82 games. Along with Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, Hyman, and so on, the Leafs possess a dangerous offensive core for the Bruins.

Who’s Not

Frederik Andersen has been one of the biggest question marks for Toronto’s playoff run in 2018-19. Numerous analysts and broadcasters of the sport agree that Andersen needs to be the best player on not only the Maple Leafs but on both teams if Toronto wants to advance to Round Two. However, since March 1st, Andersen is 6-3-4 with a .898 save percentage and a 3.40 goals-against-average. Those are well below the numbers required from him in this best-of-seven series against Boston.

The goalie on the opposite end of the arena tonight – Tuukka Rask – has not been fantastic either. Rask has a 6-5-0 record in his last eleven starts, possessing a .881 save percentage and a 2.89 GAA. Rask has had a good overall campaign for the B’s, but he too will need to be on the top of his game in order to win four games against the Leafs. Tuukka will be depended on in some of these upcoming games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Nazem Kadri has fallen down the depth charts in Toronto ever since John Tavares walked into the dressing room, but he is still depended on by the Leafs management in order to produce some depth scoring for the Maple Leafs. With that said, Kadri only has a single goal in the last 14 games played and has a -3 rating in that time as well.

Bruins vs Leafs – Game One Outlook

From the beginning of the season back in October, it was assumed that the Boston Bruins would once again battle the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While both franchises made changes in the offseason, they still did not match up well on paper to overtake the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top divisional spot in the Atlantic and that is exactly what turned out to be the case.

The Bruins finished second in the Atlantic, with Toronto only seven points behind in the third position. As we prepare to go to war for what is likely to be another seven-game series, it is important to remember that you may not have any fingernails remaining when one team eventually gets eliminated – this series is going to be close.

The Bruins will look to score first and keep it going from there as they have found previous success during the regular season when doing so, finishing with a combined record of 34-7-5 when scoring the game’s first goal. However, Toronto will look to do the same thing and quiet down the roaring Bruins home crowd in the TD Garden.

Either way, it will all come down to the men in between the pipes. Whoever plays the best in the crease will come out victorious tonight and most likely in the series as that is how it has been over the course of their history as Original Six franchises.

Nonetheless, we are oh-so-close to the 7:10pm EST puck drop in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Get ready, it’s about to get fun.

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

—–> Click Here To Get Your Boston Bruins First Round Stanley Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—-

—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—