Monday night’s game between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto is a pivotal one in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Boston enters the day three points above Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division, and a victory for the B’s would give them a nice five-point edge over the Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the division’s final playoff berth.
Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the Bruins, but he’s struggled versus the Leafs this season with an 0-1-0 record, a 4.69 goals against average and a .788 save percentage. The Bruins will need Rask to perform much better than he did Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers, when he allowed five goals on 17 shots in a little more than a period of play.
In Rask’s defense, the whole team needs to give a better effort. The Bruins didn’t do a good job defending the front of the net against the Oilers, and if that isn’t cleaned up, the highly skilled Leafs forwards — led by rookie sensations Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner — will wreak havoc.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams.
BOSTON BRUINS (38-27-6)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano–Ryan Spooner–Drew Stafford
Dominic Moore–Riley Nash–Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara–Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug–Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller–Kevan Miller
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (32-23-15)
Zach Hyman–Auston Matthews–William Nylander
Leo Komarov–Nazem Kadri–Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk–Tyler Bozak–Mitch Marner
Matt Martin–Brian Boyle–Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly–Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner–Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick–Roman Polak
Thumbnail photo via Walter Tychnowicz/USA TODAY Sports Images