Bruins Notes: Success Against Maple Leafs Encouraging Sign Going Forward – NESN
The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs finished their season series Saturday night, but let’s be real, they’ll probably see each other again once spring rolls around.
Scotiabank Arena played host to a chaotic, yet wildly entertaining 3-2 win for the Bruins. With the victory, they climbed within two points of Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division, although the Leafs do have one game in hand.
There’s a very real possibility the two Original Six sides will be the second- and third-place teams in the division once the regular season ends, meaning they’d have yet another first-round playoff matchup against one another. And if that proves to be the case, the Bruins should be encouraged about the way they played their division foe this campaign.
Boston went 3-1-0 against the Leafs this season, scoring 4.0 goals per game to Toronto’s 2.5, while executing 28.6-percent of its chances on the penalty kill. The Bruins’ lone loss was a 4-2 defeat that featured an empty-netter, while two of their three wins were thoroughly dominant, claiming 5-1 and 6-3 victories in November and December, respectively.
Of course, everything changes once the postseason rolls around. But considering the injury-riddled roster the Bruins were working with in three of their four games this season, the performances they delivered absolutely should inspire confidence for head coach Bruce Cassidy and Co.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Maple Leafs game:
— It’s not uncommon for Tuukka Rask to get hot for an extended stretch during the season, and it appears we’re seeing that right now. Rask turned away 30 of the 32 shots he faced against the Leafs, plenty of which were high-percentage chances for Toronto.
At some points Rask was absolutely peppered, especially in the closing minutes where there was 6:55 of nonstop play heading into the final buzzer, but he seemed unfazed and helped preserve the lead once the Bruins got back ahead in the second. With the result, Rask now is on a five-game win streak and has a .954 save percentage in that stretch.
Rask also earned his 251st career victory with the Bruins on Saturday. He now is one win away from tying Tiny Thompson as the franchise’s all-time wins leader.
— Charlie McAvoy made his return to action after a seven-game absence due to a foot injury.
The defenseman logged 18:28 of ice time, good for fourth-most of the team’s defensemen. He finished his night with one shot on net, two hits, two blocked shots and two giveaways.
Although McAvoy understandably had a little bit of rust, he mostly looked sharp and didn’t have any major gaffes.
— Sean Kuraly had a three-point night (one goal, two assists), the first of his career.
— David Krejci has goals in two consecutive games, and his first-period slap shot against Toronto upped his season total to nine. He’s also slashing 2-3-5 in his last six games.
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images