Who will WIN this matchup?
@ Toronto Maple Leafs
Tuukka Rask (BOS): Confirmed
Frederik Andersen (TOR): Confirmed
Boston Bruins: (+100)
Toronto Maple Leafs: (-120)
• The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be short-handed heading into Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series versus the visiting Boston Bruins on Monday night. The game will take place hours after Nazem Kadri’s reported in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety, a meeting necessitated after the Toronto forward cross-checked Jake DeBrusk in Saturday’s 4-1 setback in Boston. Kadri returned after receiving a knee-on-knee hit from DeBrusk in the second to score midway into the third before he ignited fireworks with his shot to the head of the Bruins forward. The prevailing question surrounding Kadri’s potential suspension might be “for how long” as opposed to “if” given the 28-year-old’s considerable history, as he has been suspended four times during his career — including for three games in the 2018 first-round series with Boston following his boarding penalty on Tommy Wingels.
• While Kadri’s status is up in the air, the same can be said for DeBrusk along with defensemen Torey Krug (undisclosed) and Connor Clifton (upper body) as the series between the Original Six rivals is ratcheting up the emotion. “We’re not a team that runs from a physical game,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think it brings out the best in us at times. You’ve got to make sure you stay on the right side of things, and score, defend, while you’re doing all that. That was the ask (Saturday). We got it.”
• Boston altered its approach after its 4-1 setback in the series opener, with David Backes making the most of his addition to the lineup by registering a game-high seven hits. Backes wasn’t the only one laying the lumber, as David Pastrnak (four hits), DeBrusk (four) and David Krejci (three) weren’t shy about making their presence known. “It was really intense. We felt like we needed to play more of that style … both teams want to play hard and play that kind of playoff-style hockey,” Bruins forward Matt Grzelcyk said.
• After drawing rave reviews following their series-opening performance, defensemen Jake Muzzin and Nikita Zaitsev didn’t fare as well in Game 2. Muzzin failed to control a loose puck in his own zone which led to Charlie Coyle’s game-opening goal and was out of position on a 2-on-1 rush that was capped off with Brad Marchand’s first goal of the series. Muzzin and Zaitsev, who each finished with a minus-3 rating, were separated as a unit in the third period and paired with Travis Dermott and Jake Gardiner, respectively.
• Boston C Patrice Bergeron has three goals and two assists in four games versus Toronto, including one goal in each game of this series.
• Maple Leafs RW William Nylander or C Patrick Marleau likely will be placed on the third line should Kadri be unavailable to play on Monday.
• Bruins C Marcus Johansson missed Game 2 with an illness and did not travel with the team to Toronto.