The Stanley Cup Playoffs is just 10 games away. Matchups are confirmed and wild card teams continue to shift. However, there is one matchup that is likely to repeat itself for the third time in the past seven years. The Boston Bruins (2) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (3). The last two matchups, the Bruins emerged victorious with both series going to seven games. These two teams are evenly-matched, but the Maple Leafs will win the series this year.
Toronto’s Youth has More Experience than Before
Toronto is no longer the ‘young squad’ that will ‘lead them to greatness in the future.’ They are now the team everyone had been talking as they are ready fro greatness.
Mitch Marner has been getting better throughout his three-year Entry-Level-Contract (ELC). In his rookie season he put up 61 points and just two years later, he now has 85 points. Marner isn’t known for his goal scoring abilities, but he has the ability to dish out some excellent assists. His assists make up for a majority of his points, but Marner is an excellent playmaker in the league. Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said “Marner is as smart a player as this league has not only seen this year, has ever seen.”
Auston Matthews also deserves some praise. Matthews has averaged 65 points per year and 36 goals per year in just three years. He agreed upon a big contract extension for five years and is making between $11.5-11.7 million per year.
William Nylander missed the first half of the season in contract negotiations, but he agreed upon six-year, $6.9 million per year contract. Nylander only has 22 points in 44 games, but he knows what he’s doing and is definitely worth every penny.
They have the youth and speed and the bond and the chemistry the players have developed between one another has been outstanding.
John Tavares’ Experience will Help the Leafs
One of the biggest free-agent signings the league has seen in years, John Tavares signed a seven-year contract. He is currently making over $15 million this year alone. Tavares has already surpassed his career best in goals with 40 on the season so far. The star-center will break his point total record that is set at 86 points. Tavares is having himself a career year which is only fueling the Leafs for a big playoff run. The Leafs have the talent to get passed the Bruins this year.
Frederik Andersen Still Remains Consistent
For the last three seasons goalie Frederik Andersen has averaged a .918 save percentage with Toronto. He has a record of 34-14-4 which is just four wins shy of matching his career best with the Leafs. Being consistent can be seen in different ways.
Andersen has proven to be a consistent guy who the Leafs can rely upon when needed. Having the same save percentage only proves that. However, if Andersen has stayed consistent for the past three years, then he will perform better against the Bruins than in years past.
Despite playing less games due to an injury this season, Andersen will have a better outcome against the Bruins due to a better record than before.
The Maple Leafs have won enough to grant them a playoff berth, but will they be able to crack the Bruins? Will the Bruins remain the dominant team in the rivalry? In the season-series the Bruins have won three of the four games and scoring 16 goals against the Leafs.
The Leafs have only won one of the four games and scored just 10 goals against the Bruins. There is still 10 games to go before the sparks start to fly, because it will be a heated matchup.