On paper, and based on recent history, winning this series looks like an almost impossible task for the inexperienced Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins are loaded with young stars they acquired from the Maple Leafs in trades. G Tuukka Rask was drafted by the Leafs and F Tyler Seguin and D Doug Hamilton were drafted by the Bruins with the picks they received in compensation for Leafs RW Phil Kessel. It’s hard to think of this series without thinking about the Phil Kessel trade. Phil has scored many goals as a Leaf but very few against his former team.
The Bruins Are Under Pressure After Last Season’s First Round Exit.
A year ago, enjoying their status as defending Stanley Cup champs, the Boston Bruins lost a heart breaker in game seven OT against the Washington Capitals in the first round. They want to avenge that early playoff exit with a strong run in this year’s playoffs. And their first bump in the road is a team they have dominated over the last few seasons. Seems to good to be true for the Bruins who have struggled to find their game lately.
There Are Many Unknowns With The Leafs.
If there is one team in the Stanley Cup playoffs that is a complete unknown it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have not seen playoff action in nine years. Before this season started they were expected to miss the playoffs once again. But they made it, and they made it comfortably in 5th spot. They lack the playoff experience of their opponents. We all know what Boston look like when they’re playing good playoff hockey. They are tough to play against. With the Leafs, no one has any idea. Will this be a continuation of their recent regular season troubles against Boston or does this young team have an extra gear they can reach and catch the Bruins by surprise.
Cup Winning Coaches Do Battle.
Both Leafs coach Randy Carlyle and Bruins coach Claude Julien have won Stanley Cup rings. This series could come down to coaching. For the Leafs to win, Carlyle will have to out coach Julien and for the Bruins to win, Julien will have to find a way to get his players back playing the super tight defensively responsible style of hockey they have become known for.
Leafs in 6.
Bruins have struggled. They have new faces in the lineup. They have key players coming off injuries and experiencing bad seasons. It just seems like a bad year for the Bruins. On the flip side, this is one of the those years where everything has gone right for the Leafs. They have momentum on their side and absolutely no pressure up against the one team their home city expects them to have no shot at beating.