Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Will Beat the Boston Bruins

The Leafs first-round opponent for the Stanley Cup playoffs has been determined. There are multiple reasons why the Leafs will finally take down the Boston Bruins in a playoff series.
Dec 2, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) celebrates with teammates Morgan Rielly (44) and Calle Jarnkrok (19) after a Leafs goal.
Dec 2, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) celebrates with teammates Morgan Rielly (44) and Calle Jarnkrok (19) after a Leafs goal. / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It took until the penultimate game of the Toronto Maple Leafs regular season schedule to determine their opponent for the upcoming NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs regulation loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, coupled with the Bruins losing to the Ottawa Senators, means another chapter to the Leafs-Bruins playoff rivalry is about to begin. The combined results allowed the Panthers to leapfrog the Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division and set up a Leafs-Bruins first-round matchup.

This will be the fourth time in recent playoff history that the two storied franchises have met in the postseason. Fans of the Leafs don't need to be reminded that the Bruins have won the past three series between the teams, all of them in seven games, all of them involving varying levels of heartache.

The fourth time will be a charm for the Leafs. There are multiple reasons why the result will be different in the latest postseason encounter.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Have More Star Power

The Maple Leafs have hitched their wagon to their star players, for better or worse. You might have heard that the core of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, plus John Tavares has delivered only one series victory since 2016-2017.

It defies logic that the talent on this roster, especially at forward, has not accounted for more success. The Leafs have often been a victim of the randomness that comes from hockey.

A hot goaltender (Sergei Bobrovsky last year) or momentum-swinging overtime losses have prevented the Leafs from advancing in past years.

In their matchup against the Bruins, the Leafs have the edge in star power, and it's not close. Yes, the Maple Leafs stars have underperformed in past playoffs, but that talent can't be contained forever, right?

Matthews, Marner, and Nylander have a decided edge over David Pastrnak and an aging Brad Marchand. Plus, these aren't the Bruins of yesteryear. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Zdeno Chara have all recently retired.

Nylander was the Leafs best forward during last year's second-round against the Florida Panthers, Marner and Matthews both had moments of explosion in the first-round victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Plus, the best salve for Matthews' disappointment of not reaching the 70-goal milestone, is to have a dominant postseason. It's only fitting that the NHL's best goal-scorer during the regular season carries that success into the playoffs.

The Bruins Have Regressed

It would be near impossible for the Bruins to repeat their regular season success from when they won the President's Trophy a year ago.

They had a hot start to the 2023-2024 season before slipping slightly and eventually being overtaken by the Panthers for first place in the division.

Their team defense is still respectable, but their goals and shot against per game, and penalty-killing numbers are some of their worst of the last decade.

The Leafs have the edge over the Bruins in many underlying advanced stats.


The Toronto Maple Leafs have their warts, but the timing is right for them to exorcise their playoff demons from past matchups against the Bruins.