Boston vs Toronto:

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: The SBA (stands for signing bonus arena)

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4, TVAS, NESN

Opponent SBNation Site: Cup-a-Soup

I am not afraid of the Boston Bruins. I do understand why for so many fans they’ve become this symbol of doom, their own personal bête noire et or, but for me they are not a mystery. They are a one-line team with a better backup goalie than pretty much anyone in the NHL. They are usually very good, and they play a disciplined defensive style that is very predictable, but they are weakest defensively when their scariest offensive line is on the ice.

Tonight the Leafs face a version of the Bruins that will have to rely very heavily on their structure. They have so many key injuries it makes playing without Auston Matthews seem easy. Which just makes them a wounded bear and more dangerous. But much like the games against Columbus, the Leafs have the key to solving one-line teams even without Matthews in the lineup. They just need to keep turning over their lines, running hard for the offensive zone, and shooting all the time — just maybe not quite so much as Carolina. It’s okay to aim once in a while.

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson - Par Lindholm - Connor Brown
Josh Leivo - Frederik Gauthier - Tyler Ennis

Defence Pairings

Martin Marincin skated in Nikita Zaitsev’s spot at morning skate, and Zaitsev is ill but expected to play at this time.

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - ???
Travis Dermott - Igor Ozhiganov


Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

Boston Bruins

From, and prior to their last game.

Forward Lines

Brad Marchand - Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen - David Krejci - Jake DeBrusk
Chris Wagner - Sean Kuraly - David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom - Colby Cave - Noel Acciari

Defence Pairings

Matt Grzelcyk - Kevan Miller
Torey Krug - Connor Clifton
Jeremy Lauzon - John Moore


Tuukka Rask
Jaroslav Halak

A few changes:

Yes those Bruins names are real. I have never heard of two of their defenders and one of their forwards, and if the Marlies hadn’t played the P-Bruins fairly often, I wouldn’t know a few more.

If you ever really wanted to stresstest systems over roster talent, this is how you do it. I don’t ever want to see the Leafs equivalent to that, but this game should be really weird. I assume it will be Maximum Marchand.

As for the Leafs, they have settled into their boring sameness that will only be shaken up when Auston Matthews (and/or his proper RW) join the team. The key to this game is some offence from Nazem Kadri, and some check them to a standstill play from Par Lindholm and the boys. The Leafs fourth line should run roughshod all over this Bruins line — no offence to Mr Cave. If ever there was a night for Gauthier to pass and not shoot, it’s this one.

It will be interesting to see if Mike Babcock leaves Tavares out against the JFK line, or if he sics Kadri on them. It’s not like David Krejci is bad, however, and he is usually tough to play against for the Leafs. The Bruins fourth line, playing as their third, is all checking and nothing else, so I want to see how Lindholm and particularly Johnsson handle them.

That’s all for now, when we have confirmation on starting goalies and other changes, we’ll let you know.

Halak is the starter for the Bruins, which is great because he pretty much torched the Leafs on his own last time. Pastrnak was superfluous. Andersen for the Leafs, of course.