Maple Leafs vs Bruins: The game will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET. Other streams can be found on FuboTV and Reddit’s NHL streams subreddit via this direct link.
Event: NHL Hockey
Team: Maple Leafs vs Bruins
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Game Time: 5:00 p.m. ET
This game feels like a pivot point where a win for Boston ties the series, while a win for Toronto gives them a commanding 3-1 lead. But another way to look at it is that the worst that can happen is a Boston win turns the remaining games into a best two out of three series and the Leafs might leave this game needing only one more win to move on to round two.
The Leafs are standing pat on lines, and I expect we’ll see some flexibility in usage with more control over matchups on the Leafs bench. Andreas Johnsson played a little with Nylander and Brown last game, and Patrick Marleau had barely more five-on-five minutes than the fourth liners in a close game.
A blow out by the Leafs that lets that fun fourth line have some minutes and gives the top nine a little rest is totally okay with me. But this series doesn’t look like it’s blow out prone. It looks like a tough contest between teams that are nearly even.
Michael Hutchinson was back last game, not sure how many people even noticed that, and he’ll be backing up again tonight.
Looking ahead, if Boston can advance past the first round, there is a chance they could take over as the Eastern Conference’s de facto No. 1 seed, as the Tampa Bay Lightning trail 3-0 in their series with Columbus.
It’s interesting to watch Bruce Cassidy coach in the playoffs for a second straight year. He’s a very good coach, and his emphasis on positional, defensive play works well as a continuation of the system the team had under Claude Julien (Cassidy’s is better) and also with the personnel on the team.
He’s building a system around his players, not demanding his players act out a drama in his head, which I think is the difference between good coaches and coaches that look good only with the right team.