The Boston Bruins have applied the final blow to the Toronto Maple Leafs in each of the last two seasons. Tonight, the sides will meet for the first time on this new season. Under the Hockey Night In Canada lights in the self proclaimed center of the hockey universe, these two rivals will play what will be no doubt a heated contest.
David Krejci will miss his second straight game tonight. Both he and veteran Joakim Nordstrom were ruled out by Bruce Cassidy on Friday and did not travel with the group to Toronto. Krejci was injured on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks, a game in which he played just 4:43 before exiting. Cassidy didn’t believe the injury was too severe, but the upper-body ailment has now kept Krejci out of two consecutive games.
Nordstrom, meanwhile, was injured late on Thursday night.
Patrice Bergeron is also less than 100%, having blocked a shot against the Lightning. He traveled to Toronto with the Bruins. He was listed as questionable, but according to Cassidy is expected to play. “I don’t believe there is,” Cassidy said when asked if there was a chance that Bergeron would not play against the Leafs. “But he didn’t go out [for practice], so I’d better make sure.”
First Of The Year
The Bruins and Maple Leafs will get quite familiar with themselves over the next week. The sides will play tonight in Toronto and then head to Boston to complete a home-and-home set on Tuesday night. It will be the Maple Leafs first visit to the Garden since their second consecutive Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Bruins last April.
They’ll meet again on November 15th in Toronto, then conclude the series at TD Garden on March 14th.
The Bruins won three of four regular season meetings a season ago, only dropping a 4-2 decision on November 26th. The Bruins went 1-1-0 in Toronto g the regular season. Overall, the Bruins went 7-4-0 against the Leafs in 2018-19.
The Maple Leafs are without their top center coming into tonight’s tilt. John Tavares suffered a broken finger against the Washington Capitals this past week and will miss around three weeks of action. His loss severely depletes an already thin Maple Leafs forward corps.
Jason Spezza, who signed as a free agent on July 1st, slides in as the team’s third line center in Tavares’ absence. Alexander Kerfoot, who was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on July 1st, now anchors the second line. Auston Matthews has taken Tavares’ spot in the lineup between William Nylander and Andreas Johnsson.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen – Par Lindholm – Brett Ritchie
Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – David Backes
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Halak will get the nod for the Bruins in goal tonight as Cassidy continues to run a platoon in net. Coyle replaces Krejci on the second line for the second game in a row, while Lindholm centers the third trio. The defense remains the same from Thursday night’s shootout defeat to the Lightning.
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines
Andreas Johnsson – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev – Alexander Kerfoot – Mitch Marner
Trevor Moore – Jason Spezza – Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov – Nick Shore – Frederik Gauthier
Morgan Rielly – Cody Ceci
Jake Muzzin – Tyson Barrie
Martin Marincin – Justin Holl