Tonight the two top teams in the Atlantic Division go head-to-head in a matchup I’ve been looking forward to. The Toronto Maple Leafs are second to the number one Boston Bruins. These two Original Six teams have a long and storied history of intense and heated competition, especially during the playoffs.
Although a win in tonight’s game might not be crucial to either the Bruins or the Maple Leafs (both are sitting comfortably in their respective playoff spots), there are still some things on the line. Specifically, the Bruins are fighting to set an NHL record for most points – ever – in a season. The Maple Leafs are seeking to secure home-ice advantage against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Both teams will be looking to earn the two points that come with a win.
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6 Things to Know About Tonight’s Maple Leafs Game vs. the Bruins
Here are six key things to know about tonight’s game.
- The Bruins have a chance to break NHL records for most wins and points in a season. However, the Maple Leafs are looking to solidify their position in second place in their division and secure home-ice advantage for their first playoff series.
- Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe tips his hat to the Bruins’ season, acknowledging their dominance in the league. Can his team beat this juggernaut?
- Ryan O’Reilly returns to the lineup after more than a month out with an injury. He’ll likely center the team’s third line and play on the second power-play unit.
- Zach Aston-Reese has been upping his game recently and could contribute to the Maple Leafs’ postseason success with his goal-scoring and blue-collar work ethic.
- Ilya Samsonov will start in goal for tonight’s game against the Bruins. Joseph Woll, who is developing into a reliable future option for the team, will serve as backup.
- The Maple Leafs’ defensive pairings will be shuffled again tonight as they prepare for the playoffs. Jake McCabe paired with TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano paired with Justin Holl.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Woll, ZAR, O’Reilly & Gustafsson
5 Things Maple Leafs Fans Should Watch Out for in Tonight’s Game
Here are five things Maple Leafs’ fans should watch out for in the game against the Bruins:
Item One: Can the Maple Leafs slow down the Bruins’ dominant offence? The Bruins have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league this season. They have a chance to break the NHL record for the most wins in a season. Can the Maple Leafs play solid defence and limit the Bruins’ scoring chances? If so, they could come out on top in this game.
Item Two: How will Ryan O’Reilly perform in his return to the lineup? O’Reilly has been out of action for over a month with a broken finger, but he’s set to return to the lineup against the Bruins. How will he perform after the extended layoff? Can he contribute to the team’s offence?
Item Three: Will the Maple Leafs continue to get secondary scoring from their depth players? The emergence of players like Zach Aston-Reese, David Kampf, and Noel Acciari could be key for the Maple Leafs in the postseason. Can they contribute to scoring? If so, they can take some of the pressure off the team’s top offensive players. That could make a big difference in the team’s success.
Item Four: Can Ilya Samsonov continue his strong play in goal? He’s quietly become of the top 10 goalies in the NHL. Will Samsonov be able to continue his strong play and give his team a chance to win?
Item Five: How will the Maple Leafs’ defence perform with the new pairings? The Maple Leafs will be shuffling their defence pairings in preparation for the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the new combinations perform against a tough Bruins team. Can they play strong defence and limit the Bruins’ scoring chances? If so, it will go a long way toward a Maple Leafs’ victory.
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