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Facing Do Or Die; Leafs vs. Bruins – Game 2

April 22, 2024, 8:34 PM ET [1071 Comments]
Mike Augello
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Like fitting into a comfortable pair of slippers, the Boston Bruins eased into their playoff comfort zone in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Toronto was more hyped up than Joe Biden at the last State of the Union, eager to prove they were as tough as the Bruins, but instead, the experienced Beantowners methodically took advantage of Toronto’s bad special teams, giveaways, and subpar goaltending of Ilya Samsonov in the 4-1 victory.

That is the past. What is unknown is whether this current edition of the Maple Leafs will wither or be different than their predecessors and show up in a critical Game 2 at TD Garden on Monday.

The focus of all the pre-game chatter is the status of William Nylander, who missed the game on Saturday with an unspecified injury. Nylander took to the ice for an optional skate on Monday for over 45 minutes, but head coach Sheldon Keefe was non-committal on his status, saying only that he would be a game-time decision.

One of the main reasons for the Leafs downfall in Game 1 was their special teams, which allowed two Jake Debrusk power play goals, and went 0-for-3 on the man advantage. Keefe indicated that Toronto will tweak their top power play, shifting Tyler Bertuzzi to the top unit as a net-front presence.

“I expect our team to come out and play hard, play well, and in a lot of ways play like we did the other night, just make a few fewer mistakes and finish a few of our chances.” Keefe said. “We don’t have to change much more than that. We liked a lot of things about our game. We just have to get back to it.”

The Leafs are not expected to make any lineup changes (unless Nylander plays). Samsonov will go in Game 2 after an uninspiring performance on Saturday. After a long stretch of playing well, the pending free agent has allowed 15 goals in the last two starts of the regular season and the playoff opener. A repeat of Saturday’s performance may force changes for the Leafs between the pipes when the series shifts to Toronto, but at that point it could be too late.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery playfully toyed with the idea of switching from Jeremy Swayman to Linus Ullmark for Game 2 since the two goalies have rotated the last two months of the season, but that is unlikely coming off a stellar 35-save performance in Game 1.


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