Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Boston Bruins Game Day Preview:
Boston Bruins (41-19-5, 87 pts) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (41-19-5, 87 pts)
TIME: 7:05 PM ET
TV: NESN, SNO, TVAS
For the first time in two years, the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs will square off at TD Garden tonight. The two teams come into tonight’s crucial tilt with the exact same record and in contention to earn home advantage in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In their only meeting this season back on Nov. 6, the Maple Leafs disposed of the Bruins quite easily in a 5-2 win at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists; Auston Matthews lit the lamp twice and John Tavares had two goals and an assist.
Thanks to that win, and goal differential, the Maple Leafs enter tonight’s game third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race while the Bruins are fourth in the Atlantic and seventh in the East. The two Original 6 rivals will play once more in the season finale for both teams on April 29 in Toronto but based on the way things are going right now, they could easily face each in the first round. That’s why tonight’s game and the one a month from tonight are so crucial as they likely will determine who has home advantage in a potential Bruins-Leafs series.
“We’ve got them a couple of times down the stretch here, so it will be good,” Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday after practice. “Two passionate fan bases and they’ve been good hockey games. I think our guys will be excited to play because it was developing into a rivalry.”
Jeremy Swayman will be back between the pipes for the Boston Bruins tonight. The rookie netminder is now 19-8-3 with a 2.09 GAA and a .925 save percentage. After going going 5-1-1 in February, Swayman is 6-1-0 in March.
Petr Mrazek is expected to get the nod for the Maple Leafs. After struggling and being waived by the Leafs two weeks ago, Mrazek has bounced back with two straight wins and enters tonight’s game at 12-6-0 with a 3.31 GAA and .890 save percentage.
Betting: With so much on the line in this latest Bruins-Leafs battle, this promises to have the feel of a playoff game. That’s why the play here is on the DRAW (overtime/shootout) at +310. Also, with Jeremy Swayman and Petr Mrazek both on their game, the UNDER 6.5 could be a smart play as well. A prop on David Pastrnak to score a goal (+120) is solid prop too.
Prediction: Bruins 3 Leafs 2 (SO)
Boston Bruins Notes
-After returning to the lineup returned to the lineup Saturday after a four-game absence due to an infection on his arm, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron did not skate Tuesday morning. However, Cassidy explained that it was simply a maintenance day and Bergeron should play Tuesday night.
-Let’s just say that the Toronto Maple Leafs son’t like playing against Bruins superstar winger David Pastrnak. Look at his career stats against the Leafs:
Catching up with an old foe. pic.twitter.com/6epPuK3uHV
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 29, 2022
Toronto Maple Leafs Notes
-Auston Matthews (48g, 35a) is a Hart Trophy candidate and has been a beast for the Maple Leafs this season. Matthews enters tonight’s game on a nine-game point streak with 11 goals and four assists over that span.
-Newly acquired defenseman Mark Giordano has fit in perfectly on and off the ice so far. In a discussion with my BHN partner-in-scribe, Joe Haggerty and me, Sportsnet Leafs Reporter Luke Fox discussed the seamless transition for the longtime Calgary Flames rearguard.
Boston Bruins Lines:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Begeron– Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Nick Foligno-Tomas Nosek-Curtis Lazar
Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines:
Michael Bunting – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Ilya Mikheyev – John Tavares – Alexander Kerfoot
Willian Nylander – David Kampf – Pierre Engvall –
Kyle Clifford – Colin Blackwell – Jason Spezza
Morgan Reilly – Ilya Lyubushkin
T.J. Brodie – Justin Holl
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren