By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After about two months of simply waiting, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are officially locked into a first-round playoff meeting thanks to Toronto’s playoff-clinching victory over the New York Islanders on Monday night.
The division rivals wrapped up their season series back in January (for some strange reason), but the Bruins did win the season series with the Leafs this season, capturing victories in three of their four head-to-head meetings. Boston outscored Toronto 16-10 over that four-game series, while the Boston power-play converted on four of their 12 opportunities.
Given that long gap between meetings, it’s no surprise that both teams have changed their personnel since the last head-to-head.
Toronto added top-four defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings in a Jan. 28 trade. The 6-foot-3 Muzzin has five goals and 16 points to go with 21 minutes per night in 30 games with Toronto since the trade, while the Leafs have a 16-9-5 record since acquiring Muzzin. The Bruins, meanwhile, have added forwards Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson. The Bruins have an 11-6-1 record since acquiring Coyle (two goals and five points in 18 games with the Bruins) as a stabilizing middle-six presence.
This will be the third time these two Original Six rivals have met in the postseason since the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins defeated the Leafs on TD Garden ice in series-deciding Game 7s in both 2013 and 2018, of course, including a historic comeback in 2013 before last year’s epic Game 7 in Boston.
It’s also worth mentioning that home-ice is still on the line for this first-round meeting, as the Bruins hold a four-point advantage over Toronto for second place, but trail the Leafs in regulation+overtime wins with three games left for each club.