As the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare to take on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden, both clubs are will be looking to grab a big two points from their Atlantic Division rivals.
Now, some might question whether or not this is a must-win game with well over 30 games left in the season. However, when it comes to the divisional playoff race, this game could be the difference between postseason hockey and another year of being on the outside looking in.
As it stands, the Leafs three points behind the Bruins for the final divisional spot with five games in hand. The Bruins are also just two points behind Ottawa for second in the Atlantic, but the Senators also have five games in hand on Boston.
For the Bruins, this will be a big two points in helping them put distance between them and the rest of the pack. For the Leafs, they control their destiny when it comes to making the postseason – a win on Saturday in Boston will certainly help them out.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
TD Garden – 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CBC, CITY and NESN
2016-17 Season Series:
October 15 – Maple Leafs 4 – Bruins 1
December 10 – Maple Leafs 4 – Bruins 1
Toronto Maple Leafs – 23-17-9 – 55 Points
Road Record: 11-9-6
Hot Players: Nazem Kadri, Mitch Marner and Nikita Zaitsev
Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk-Nazem Kadri-Mitch Marner
Leo Komarov-Tyler Bozak-Connor Brown
Matt Martin-Ben Smith-Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly-Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick
Martin Marincin-Roman Polak
Boston Bruins – 26-22-6 – 58 Points
Home Record: 12-12-0
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and David Krejci
Key Injuries: Patrice Bergeron
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-David Krejci-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Riley Nash
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Colin Miller-Kevan Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Originally drafted by the Leafs in the first round of the 2005 draft, Rask has spent his entire career with the Bruins. In 23 games against the team that picked him 21st overall, he has a record of 15-4-2 with a 1.93 goals against average and .932 save percentage.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]The duo of Marchand and Bergeron have scorched the Leafs over their careers. Marchand has 25 points (12g-13a) in 31 regular season games against Toronto while Bergeron has 52 points (20g-32a) in 58 games against his long-time rivals.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Leafs. They hold a 295-260-98-11 record with the Leafs actually outscoring the B’s by 10 goals over that span (1,970 to 1,960). However, the Leafs hold a perfect 2-0-0 record so far this season against the Bruins outscoring them 8-2.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]With the game against the Leafs, Marchand will pass Bill Cowley (508) for 48th on the Bruins all-time list for games played. Krejci needs just one goal to tie Jerry Toppazzini (148) for 28th on the franchise’s all-time goals list.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]With one goal against the Bruins, van Riemsdyk will pass Billy Harris (106) for 49th on the Leafs all-time list. Morgan Rielly will also tie Brian Glennie and Jim Morrison (110) for 24th on the team’s all-time list for defensive scoring with just one point on Saturday.
While the Leafs have given up 10 goals over the last two games, Saturday marks the perfect time for the club to get out of their post-All-Star break slump. A win over the Bruins could get people talking playoffs once again with the young club in desperate need of some confidence moving forward.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.