The Boston Bruins. The thorn in my side. The McSorley to my Brashear. The single greatest reason why I will one day only be allowed to watch hockey under a heavy dose of Ativan.
The first time I went to Boston, I was asked what I most wanted to do once we got there. I said "deface TD Gardens". I mean, I didn't end up doing it, but man did I want to.
I could go on. But I've been told that this is a Game Preview, and not a Hockeydame therapy session, so....
The Leafs are at home tonight against the Boston Bruins. Puck drop is at 8:00 pm. Yes, 8:00 pm. Apparently, tonight's game is part of NBC's Rivalry Night, which will be taking the preceding hour to go over some of the "highlights" of the Leafs/Bruins history - including, you guessed it, a certain Game 7. I will not be tuning in one minute prior to 8:00 pm - consider yourself warned.
Here are some key things to watch for:
Early Scoring and Why the Leafs Can't Allow It
I recently saw a ticker stat that said that the Bruins are something ridiculous like 140-9 when leading a game by two goals since 2010. The Leafs simply cannot afford to give up a goal in the first minute against this team, so let's hope that Reimer/Bernier will remember that they are, in fact, supposed to stop goals at the beginning of the first.
Injuries and Comebacks
Zdeno Chara is still out, David Krejci didn't make the trip and Miller remains on IR with a dislocated shoulder. Not that this has affected the Bruins at all (who have won five straight), but perhaps with the potential return of Daniel Winnik and the opportunity for Tyler Bozak to dominate the face-off circle, the momentum will be with the Leafs.
The starters haven't been confirmed yet, but I'm hoping for James Reimer and Niklas Svedberg. Reimer has the better record against the Bruins, and given that Bruins-nation is already all aflutter about their match-up against the Habs tomorrow night, it is probable that Julien will want to let Tuukka Rask get his beauty sleep. Sadly, it looks like it'll be Rask and Jonathan Bernier.
Can Gardiner Look Not Like a Pylon?
I don't know. Let's all watch and find out together, shall we?