Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs
The Bruins are still in the next man up phase as they prepare for a pivotal showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But they will have one significant return in a potential first-round preview.
Just 12 days removed from having a heart procedure at Mass General Hospital, Charlie McAvoy will suit up as the Bruins look to separate themselves from the Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings. The B’s come in with a three-point lead over Toronto and have four games in hand on their Original Six rivals.
Auston Matthews and company come in winners of four straight and are back on track after struggling through most of January. They also come in having won six straight over the Black and Gold that includes the home and home sweep back in early November.
Even with McAvoy’s return, the Bruins still need all hands on deck. Brad Marchand serves the fourth game of his five-game suspension while Noel Acciari (lower-body) and Kevan Miller (upper-body) are out because of injury.
This is the first of two February matchups between the two teams. Given the way things are trending, the Bruins and Leafs should get quite familiar with one another come mid-April.
Looking for affordable parking and a quick in and out for McAvoy’s return to Boston for tonight’s Bruins-Maple Leafs showdown? Head over Constitution Wharf (1 Constitution Rd.) – a short walk to TD Garden – and avoid the traffic and construction on Causeway St. Mention Bruins Daily at the entrance and get a prepaid rate for $12!
Gametime: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 30-11-8 (68 points), Maple Leafs 30-18-5 (65 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Danton Heinen-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Spooner
Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-David Backes
Frank Vatrano-Sean Kuraly-Austin Czarnik
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Adam McQuaid
Maple Leafs projected lines
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-William Nylander
Patrick Marleau-Nazem Kadri-Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Connor Brown
Leo Komarov-Dominic Moore-Kasperi Kapanen
Morgan Reilly-Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner-Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott-Connor Carrick
Bruins-Maple Leafs storylines
– Thursday, the Bruins recalled Peter Cehlarik on an emergency basis to fill in for the injured Anders Bjork during their 3-1 victory over the Blues. Two days later, Austin Czarnik gets his turn. The former Miami Redhawk has 131 points in 127 career games with the P-Bruins, but that success hasn’t quite translated at the NHL level. The 25-year-old winger has one assist in six games this year and last played on Nov. 8 in a loss to the Rangers. With Marchand coming back from suspension on Wednesday night and Acciari still on the shelf, Czarnik may get a couple of shots to prove he belongs at the NHL level.
– If it weren’t for a late-game collapse, the Bruins would’ve finally gotten the better of Frederik Andersen in the first meeting of the season on Nov. 10. Instead, Andersen comes into this pivotal showdown with a 9-0-0 career mark against the Black and Gold (to go along with a 1.88 GAA and .944 SV%). The former Anaheim netminder has given the Leafs goaltending stability since arriving in Toronto last off-season. The Bruins fared well Thursday night against Jake Allen, who also has done well in his career against the Black and Gold. The B’s would like nothing more than for that trend to continue and finally give Andersen his first career loss against Boston.