Eastern Conference Preview: Boston VS Toronto

By Joe Kremel

Lucic Needs To Show Up If Boston Wants To Dominate In This Series Against The Leafs. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports


SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2013      7 P.M.     TORONTO AT BOSTON,      CNBC, CBC, RDS

MONDAY, MAY 6, 2013         7 P.M.     BOSTON AT TORONTO,      NHLN-US, CBC, RDS


The Summary: The Bruins are 28-14-6 with 62 points and the Leafs are 26-17-5 with 55 points. These two teams will be heading into the first round of the playoffs as the fourth and fifth seeds respectively.  The Leafs came into the season with some hope but not the greatest of expectations.  However, thanks to a solid showing from their goalies and youngsters alike, they have earned their first playoff berth since 2004.  The Bruins, on the other hand, came into the season with high expectations, specifically from their young star Seguin.  Unfortunately, Seguin hasn’t had a breakout season.  Add that to Lucic‘s regression and you got a relatively disappointing year. Of course, none of that matters for either team if they can’t build off their seasons and win the cup.

The Season: The Bruins took the series three games to one against the Leafs. All of the games were one goal affairs with the exception of the 4-2 Boston victory, courtesy of an empty netter.  The impact players for the Bruins were Marchand and Bergeron, both of them putting up four points in the series.  Rask has been a huge factor for the Bruins this season after taking over the starting role when Thomas went AWOL.  Rask ended the season with 2.00 GAA and .929 SV% which isn’t too bad when you consider the skates he had to fill.  Toronto’s impact players were Kadri and Grabovski with three points each in the series.  Kadri has been a standout player all season for Toronto, and you can expect that to continue into the playoffs.  Also, you can’t forget to give Reimer and Scrivens ample credit for the success of Leafs.  Both goalies have played above expectations.

The Reality: The Bruins are favored to win this series, but I don’t think it will be as easy as some seem to believe.  The Leafs hung in there against the Bruins in their season series, and I don’t see why that would be different now.  Still, the Bruins have the better blue line and starting goaltender, and if Lucic ever gets out of his funk, the balance of power will begin to shift heavily to Boston.

The Prediction: 4-2 Boston with Bergeron being the pivotal player in the series.  The Bruins may have lost some of their rep as the “Big Bad Bruins”, but they are still a hard hitting defensive team.  They also have the playoff experience to keep a level head even if they go down a goal or two while Toronto may lack the ability to stay calm.

The Upset: The upset would involve both Toronto doing everything right and Boston not responding.  We have seen Boston just look completely lost in the third period at times this season, and Toronto will need to apply as much pressure as they possibly can in the third.  If the Leafs can steal a win or two on the road, it’s possible they could shake Boston’s confidence.  The key players in an upset would have to be Kadri, Kessle, Van Reimsdyk, and Reimer.