Preview: One more before the break as the Bruins face the Maple Leafs

Feb 1, 2023 - 12:00 PM
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Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7:30 PM

Where: Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON

How to follow: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Pension Plan Puppets

Know your enemy

  • 31-12-8, 70 PTS, 2nd in the Atlantic Division
  • William Nylander: 28G-31A-59PTS; Mitch Marner: 18G-41A-59PTS; Auston Matthews: 25G-28A-53PTS
  • Ilya Samsonov: 17-5-2, 2.31 GAA, .917 save percentage

Game notes

  • With many of the league’s teams already hitting their favorite vacation spots, the Bruins and Maple Leafs will face off for one more tilt before each team hits the All-Star break — after tonight, the Bruins won’t be back in action until a week from Saturday.
  • This is the third meeting of the season between these two teams. The Leafs won in Toronto back in October, then the Bruins won at the Garden a little more than two weeks ago. After tonight, these two teams won’t play again April 6.
  • Given how well the season has gone thus far, it’s silly to classify this game as a “must-win” game for the Bruins. However, given their mini skid and the fact that a long break looms, a win tonight would certainly go a long way toward resetting the vibes around the fanbase.
  • Goaltending has been a wild card for the Maple Leafs for 593 years, and this year is no exception. It looks like Ilya Samsonov, who has the better stats in comparison to Matt Murray (who is also injured), will get the start tonight.
  • Auston Matthews is out tonight with a knee sprain. He’s expected back after the All-Star break.
  • I don’t keep super close tabs on the Leafs, so I was surprised to see ol’ Snizzbone (RIP his Twitter handle) himself, William Nylander, tied for the team lead in scoring. It seems like Leafs fans have been trying to run him out of town for years, but there he is, producing — though maybe not quite as much as his good pal David Pastrnak.
  • The knock on the Leafs for a while (as referenced above) has been “great offense, questionable D/goaltending.” It may be surprising, then, to learn that the Leafs actually have the league’s fifth-most stout defense at 2.65 GA/G.
  • The Bruins and Leafs are 6th and 7th in the league in PP%, so it would behoove both teams to stay out of the box tonight.
  • For the Bruins, Jakub Lauko and Vinni Lettieri were recalled from Providence yesterday, only for Lettieri to leave Tuesday’s practice on crutches and be left home from this trip. Tough blow for a kid who has had a great AHL season and looked primed to get an NHL look.
  • Both of these two teams’ previous match-ups were entertaining, tight games — there’s little reason to expect tonight will be any different.

See ya tonight!

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