Brad Marchand believes Maple Leafs are Bruins’ greatest rival

Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
8 days ago
Any time you get a playoff matchup between two Original Six franchises, there’s an invitation to reflect upon history. Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand made quite the declaration Thursday, stating that the Toronto Maple Leafs are now his franchise’s greatest rival.
“You see the excitement they have all throughout Canada when they’re in playoffs,” Marchand said Thursday via NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin. “Makes it a lot of fun to play them. And I think, just with the history we’ve had with them recently, they’re probably our biggest rival right now over the last decade.
“They’ve probably surpassed Montreal and any other team with kind of where our rivalry’s gone, just because we’ve both been so competitive with each other, and we’ve had a few playoff series. It definitely brings the emotion, the intensity, up in the games and the excitement for the fans.”
Boston and Toronto are squaring off for the fourth time in 11 years, with the Marchand and the Bruins emerging victorious in 2013, 2018 and 2019. It’s not only one of the league’s storied historical rivalries, but one of the most heated contests in the modern NHL.
We’re not going to take particular umbrage with Marchand’s contention, only that it’s worth a reminder that the Bruins-Canadiens matchup was the definitive NHL rivalry of the 1950s and 1970s.
Although Marchand has tormented the Maple Leafs throughout his career, he isn’t taking anything for granted and paid his due respect to this year’s team.
“They’re always extremely competitive,” Marchand said of the Maple Leafs. “You never know which way the series is going to go. But that’s what you want. That’s what you love about hockey is the competition aspect. They’re real competitors over there, especially the way they’re built right now. So it’s going to be a lot of fun, and that’s what playoffs is about. It’s about the best teams going head-to-head.”
Marchand recorded a point in each of the Bruins’ four wins against the Maple Leafs this season but it doesn’t appear that he’s paying his opponent mere lip service. This is what the hiatus between games is for. Marchand controversially drove Timothy Liljegren into the boards during a Nov. 2 game, which led to the Maple Leafs’ defenseman being placed on LTIR. This almost certainly won’t be forgotten.
We can’t wait for the latest rendition of the NHL’s best rivalry to begin Saturday and evidently, neither can Marchand.

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