Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins Series Preview

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3: Patrice Bergeron
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3: Patrice Bergeron /
2 of 5
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 28: James van Riemsdyk
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 28: James van Riemsdyk /

Boston Bruins Lines

Yesterday, the Boston Bruins Twitter Handle tweeted out the Bruins lines.

As you can see from the tweet, the Bruins top line is one of the best in the National Hockey League. The pairing of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak has been pivotal to the Bruins’ success this season. The three forwards combined have totaled 99 goals and 129 assists. The one thing to note is that the Bruins top line is great 5v5, but also excels on the power-play. On the power-play, the three have totaled 31 goals and 70 PPP.

Their second line isn’t as strong compared to the top line and honestly doesn’t provide the first line with solid depth. Cassidy has decided to go with Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Rick Nash on the second line. DeBrusk has looked solid in his first season in the NHL. In 70 games, he registered 16 goals and 27 assists. Unfortunately for DeBrusk, his centre, Krejci had his worst season. Krejci had 44 points in 64 games. In addition, Nash wasn’t so great either, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Aside from the top two lines, the forward I really like is Danton Heinen. Per the tweet from the Bruins, he plays on their third line. Heinen has truly blossomed into a solid winger. In 77 games this season, he had 16 goals and 31 assists. In his last five games, he’s been great for Boston and totaled 2 goals.

Bruins Defense

Aside from their offense, the Bruins’ defense and net-minding shouldn’t be overlooked. The Bruins have a solid top defensive pairing. Cassidy has Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara playing on his top defensive pairing. While McAvoy has spent a decent amount of time in the press box due to injury, he’s been nothing but spectacular for Boston. In 63 games this season, he registered 7 goals, 25 assists and a 54.8 CF%. On his left side, Chara, at age 40 hasn’t showed signs of slowing down. While he’s not the power-play hero that he used to be, he’s still outstanding defensively. This season, he had a 52.9 CF%. In all likelihood, Cassidy will have McAvoy and Chara spend the bulk of their ice-time facing the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top line of Zach Hyman, Matthews and Nylander.

While the Bruins have had to make a bunch of changes on their last two pairings due to the injury of Brandon Carlo, they still have some weapons on defense. On their second line, Torey Krug has been a valued asset in the offensive zone. This season he registered 14 goals and 45 assists. He also proven to be a strong quarterback on the power-play. Aside from Krug, I truly like Matt Grzelcyk. While Grzelcyk isn’t a house hold name and doesn’t appear often on the score sheet, he’s tied with McAvoy for the highest CF% by a defenseman on the Bruins. Grzelcyk has proven to be an asset all year and should continue to be successful in round one.

Tuukka Rask

In net, the Bruins are led by one of the best Finnish goaltenders to play professional hockey. Tuukka Rask has been nothing but phenomenal. From year to year, he consistently owns a low GAA and a stellar SV%. Unfortunately for Mike Babcock and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rask seems to be ten times stronger in the playoffs. Rask owns a 2.12 GAA in 53 playoff games. If the Toronto Maple Leafs hope to beat the Bruins in the series, they’ll have to study Rask and find ways to beat him.