April 30 2013 03:09PM
Our long-winded preview went up Tuesday morning, and you should all check it out. We break down the matchups line by line and how everything should shake out in Toronto's first playoff appearance since the release of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.
If there are typos in any of the predictions, blame the email programs we copied and pasted from with the exception of our submission from Oilers Nation HQ. Their picks were sent to us this morning by carrier pigeon and the bloody thing was written in crayon.
Here are the panel picks, starting with Steve Dangle of the Leafs Nation dot com:
Fans have to be happy that the Leafs are back in the playoffs. It’s been a long, crappy wait. That being said, they’re playing the Bruins in Round 1, which is probably the Leafs’ worst case scenario going in. The Capitals are the 3rd seed, and while they have been on fire, they’re still beatable. The Canadiens’ are the 2nd seed, and while they won the Northeast Division and beat the Leafs soundly in their final game of the season, the Leafs completely pumped them twice in this short campaign. Besides, even if the Leafs hadn’t won those games, who doesn’t want to see a Toronto-Montreal tilt? Even the 1st seed Harlem Globetrotters Pittsburgh Penguins have had some trouble against the Leafs this year. But the Bruins. The freakin’ Bruins. That’s who they get.
April 30 2013 10:00AM
James Reimer is indubitably the key to victory. Photo via CP
For a while towards the end of the season, the fates were leading the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs on a collision course that would have surely torn apart the fabric of our nation, and ended up with Québec drifting out into the sea. But after an unlikely chain of events on Saturday—the Boston Bruins blowing a two-goal lead against the Washington Capitals and the capitulation of the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens—the stage was set Sunday for the Senators and Bruins to determine the Leafs' fate.
So, so much has gone right for the Maple Leafs this season, and sparing the clichés about the Buds being ready to play against any opponent in the first round… it's clear that the final game of the season between Ottawa and Boston didn't break the way they were hoping. Instead of a dream matchup against the Canadiens—both a ratings bonanza and a team whose weaknesses play into the Leafs' strengths—Toronto ended up drawing Boston.
We know the Bruins recent record against the Leafs, but what we don't know is how the Leafs can beat the Bruins over a seven-game series or how it will break down, line-by-line and matchup-by-matchup. Our detailed preview is below the jump…
April 29 2013 05:21PM
Here's a creeping narrative surrounding our Bruins and Leafs series already. It has to do, of course, with Phil Kessel, who has historically struggled against the Boston Bruins and declined to talk to the media today after a gathering of press hounds were waiting 25 minutes for an appearance.
Kessel's statistics against the Bruins in his career are, well, unflattering to say the least. In 22 games against his former club, he's scored just three times and is a minus-22. I would not characterize this as a fault of Kessel being unable to step up to the big game, as it has been portrayed twice in various media outlets today.
April 29 2013 01:37PM
Dave Nonis said that he expected Tyler Bozak to be on the ice and ready for Game One, but he didn't practice with the team today. Mikhail Grabovski spent time between Joffrey Lupul and Nik Kulemin on the second line with Nazem Kadri with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk on the first.
Steve Simmons, of all people, noted that Grabovski was staying out for extra faceoff practice.
So maybe there's a disconnect between what the Leafs are preparing for in Game One and what the Leafs are saying. Elliotte Friedman was on the Canucks Army podcast last night and did note that you can't trust teams at this time in the season to be entirely truthful and up front when it comes to injuries.
April 29 2013 04:19AM
A few thoughts to tide us over until Wednesday. Leading up to Game One, we'll run a series of previews along with some of our own in-house analytics to break down Eastern Conference Series D as best we can in the coming days.
No. 1 - Forget it Jake, it's Boston