Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Boston Bruins Game Day Preview:
Boston Bruins (32-5-4, 68 pts) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (26-10-7, 59 pts)
TIME: 7 P.M. ET
TV: NESN, Sportsnet
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Boston Bruins will get a look at their closest competitors in the Atlantic Division when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town on Saturday night for the first time this season. The Leafs (59 points) are actually the closest NHL team to the Bruins (68 points) in the point total department to this point this season as well, so this will be a pretty good measuring stick for both sides.
“It’s Saturday night in Boston, Hockey Night in Canada,” said Trent Frederic. “Any time you play Toronto, it makes it a little extra special. It should be a fun one.”
It will be an interesting matchup for the Bruins against a Maple Leafs hockey club that’s playing very differently from those in the past, and ranks third behind the Bruins and Stars while allowing just 2.60 goals per game this season.
Boston Bruins Notes
-The Boston Bruins suffered their first regulation loss at home on Thursday night in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Kraken that was also their first time being shut out this season. Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery noted afterward that he felt like his hockey team looked like they were “running low on batteries” on the heels of a three-game road trip to California.
-Finnish center prospect Joona Koppanen made his NHL debut on Thursday night against the Kraken but was sent back down to Providence on Friday after a solid first game for the Black and Gold.
-The Boston Bruins are 8-0-0 after losses this season and will look to improve that mark when they take the ice against the rival Maple Leafs on Saturday.
“[The Kraken loss] was an example of us not being prepared to play the way we need to be each night,” said Brad Marchand. “This is another opportunity, regardless of where we are in the standings, it’s an opportunity for us to show that we’re a good team, that we know how to bounce back, we know how to play against good teams as well. It’s an exciting opportunity for our group.”
–AJ Greer will return to the Boston Bruins lineup after missing the last three Boston Bruins games due to illness.
–The Boston Bruins have just six power plays over the last four games, an indicator that the B’s aren’t consistently working hard enough offensively.
“It’s a signal that you’re not driving pucks wide, you’re not going to hard areas,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “Usually, refs call penalties that will equate to scoring chances. We need to do a better job of getting on the inside in the offensive zone off the rush and in the offensive zone because that’s usually where you draw penalties.”
Toronto Maple Leafs Notes
-Auston Matthews is set to return to the Maple Leafs lineup on Saturday night after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury, so the Bruins will be getting Toronto at pretty full strength at this point. Matthews has two goals and five points in four games for the Maple Leafs during the month of January.
-Pontus Holmberg and Bobby McMann are both dealing with an illness and aren’t expected to play after missing Saturday’s morning skate at TD Garden.
-TJ Brodie has a rib injury for the Maple Leafs and isn’t expected to play on Saturday night against the Bruins.
-The Maple Leafs’ dads are on the trip with the Toronto players and took a picture on the visiting bench at TD Garden on Saturday morning.
Maple Leafs dads get a team photo on the visitors’ bench in Boston. pic.twitter.com/L4FUP6phyd
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 14, 2023
Boston Bruins Lineup:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Craig Smith
Pavel Zacha-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic
Nick Foligno-Tomas Nosek-AJ Greer
Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort-Connor Clifton
Toronto Maple Leafs Lineup:
Michael Bunting-Auston Matthews-William Nylander
Calle Jarnkrok-John Tavares-Mitch Marner
Zack Aston-Reese-David Kampf-Pierre Engvall
Dryden Hunt-Alex Kerfoot-Wayne Simmonds
Morgan Rielly-Jordie Benn
Mark Giordano-Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin-Timothy Liljegren