Home news What the Bruins say about another play-off match-up with Toronto

What the Bruins say about another play-off match-up with Toronto

BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Bruins have a successful history against their first-round playoff opponent – but they hardly dwell on it.

For the second consecutive season, the Bruins open the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston hosts Game 1 on Thursday evening.

The Bruins won last year's match-up in seven games and this season took over three of the four from their rivals in the Atlantic Division. But CEO Don Sweeney does not expect fame to be a factor in this year's best-of-seven series.

"No, I don't think it's good (both teams)," Sweeney said Monday before Boston & # 39; s training. "I think there have certainly been changes in each team and additions and subtractions, the familiarity of playing styles, but it will come to performance."

The biggest change for the Maple Leafs is the presence of center John Tavares, who signed a $ 77 million seven-year contract with Toronto last summer and then scored 47 goals with his birth team in his first season. The Bruins additions came closer to the trade deadline in February, when Boston acquired Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle from New Jersey and Minnesota, respectively.

Boston relies heavily on Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, a line that combined 30 points in the series against Toronto last year and 260 points this season. Besides Tavares, the Maple Leafs are built around leading scorer Mitchell Marner (94 points), 21-year-old former top collector Auston Matthews (73 points in his third season) and defender Morgan Rielly (third of NHL defends with 72 points).

Both starting goaltenders – Toronto player Frederik Andersen (2.77 goals – against, on average, 9.99 percent storage) and Boston & # 39; s Tuukka Rask (2.48 GAA, savings weight of 912) – had strong seasons.

Although some of the staff are new, Boston's strategy to stop the Maple Leafs is the same.

"We feel that if they have time and space through the neutral zone to walk through those long stretches and attack the blue line, if we can't control that part of the game and eliminate their D involved in the rush through kill rushes on the blue line, then we're going to get into trouble, "said coach Bruce Cassidy.

This will be the third series of postseason between the Bruins and Maple Leafs this decade. The Bruins also won a seven-game series in 2013, when they dropped from 4-1 in the third period of Game 7 to win in the extension. Combined with the Bruins triumph last year after wasting a 3-1 series lead, Boston-Toronto matchups have taught players about resilience.

"It's clearly a different team and you don't want to dwell on what happened in the past. But it's more like a past playoff experience," Marchand said. "Regardless of the situation, until the series is over, there's someone in it. You know we've been against them in a series before, they've fallen and both teams have come back. So you know I'm sure it's a very exciting is going to be a series and you know, no matter what happens in the first four games, I am sure that the tides will somehow start swinging. "

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