Here we go again. For the 17th time, the Bruins and Maple Leafs will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The series, which begins on Saturday night, marks the third time the two Original Six franchises will meet in the first round since Boston’s iconic Game 7 comeback in 2013.

Sure, the Black and Gold have won the past six meetings between the two clubs and have even won seven straight regular-season games dating back to the 2022-23 season, but if the Leafs have it their way, they will finally exorcise their demons and clinch their first postseason series over the Bruins since 1959.

One of Toronto’s biggest weaknesses in the series is sure to be highlighted by what has been one of Boston’s strengths for the past two seasons — goaltending.

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Bruins netminders Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman both rank in the top 10 of all NHL goalies in goals saved above expected with at least 20 games this season. Swayman was tied for fifth in the league with a .916 save percentage, and Ullmark was right behind him, finishing the regular season at .915. Both Boston goalies also finished in the top 10 in goals-against average. Swayman posted a 2.53 for eighth best in the league, followed by Ullmark’s 2.57 which was good enough for ninth.

Toronto’s goaltending tandem didn’t fair quite as well.

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Ilya Samsonov won 23 games for the Leafs but finished the regular season with a .890 save percentage and a 3.13 goals-against average. His goals-against average ranked him 40th among NHL goalies who started at least 20 games. Joseph Woll had better stats than Samsonov, a .907 save percentage, and a 2.94 goals-against average in 25 starts, but he still ranked outside of the top 30 in the league.

While any goalie can turn into a brick wall and stand on their head in the postseason to steal a game or even a series, at five-on-five, Boston has saved a collective 36 goals above expected, which is good for second in the league behind only the Winnipeg Jets.

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Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery has yet to reveal who the Game 1 starter would be, but he could go either way and be confident that Boston is going to get sound netminding.

Featured image via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images