Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Technology | By Nina Perez

Jets open first-round playoff series Wednesday, Leafs, Flames begin Thursday

Jets open first-round playoff series Wednesday, Leafs, Flames begin Thursday

Like any playoff series, the goalies will be under a microscope.

"I think Toronto has a heck of a team, I think there's going to be a tonne of pressure on them", said head coach No. 2. "Now we feel confident, we like our structure, we like what we have going on". The Bruins won 5-1 and 7-3 against the Leafs in the first two games a year ago in Boston. It was a crushing defeat.

Many Leafs who were part of that game have talked about redemption this spring, and how the hard loss - the Leafs had a 4-3 lead entering the third period - now serves as a source of inspiration.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoffs for a third straight year but hope to make it out of the first round for the first time since 2012-13.

"The last two or three weeks was all playoff hockey", Julien said. That is not likely to happen again. John Tavares leads Toronto with 47 goals, Mitch Marner has 68 assists and Morgan Rielly has 223 shots on goal.

"But I think those are all good things for our team".

Toronto had never had back-to-back 100-point years before earning 105 last season and 100 on the nose in 2018-19. "But we played some fantastic hockey, we deserved to be in the playoffs". "We had a lot of fun making this shot on iPhone film".

Even the season series this year could be forgotten with the Bruins taking three of four games.

Toronto rallied from a 3-1 series deficit a year ago to force a seventh and deciding contest.

Toronto jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

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But - ahh, there's that ever-so-important "but" that tees up all these following points - the Toronto Maple Leafs can beat. The Bruins defense is significantly better than the Leafs and Tuukka Rask gets the edge over Frederik Andersen in net.

"I've been with this team a long time, a lot of these guys, and I definitely have to take advantage of it", he said.

And the Leafs, who have a deeper forward group, can also role out Nazem Kadri as a third centre option more often than last spring's series - one where he was suspended for Games 2, 3 and 4 following an ugly boarding penalty on Tommy Wingels.

Calgary, the top team in the Western Conference, hosts the Avalanche Thursday and Saturday before travelling to Colorado the following week for Games 3 and 4.

"Maybe win one", he noted. In a best-case scenario, individual players are feeling good about themselves on the eve of the playoffs, and teams collectively would too, Stamkos said.

But the Maple Leafs coach has to start thinking about Game 1 in Boston on Thursday and with the Canadiens eliminated on the out-of-town scoreboard the night before, he will spare some horses on defence. "It's going to be on the ice, amongst two teams". They're just going to play their game. But general manager Don Sweeney doesn't anticipate familiarity being a factor in the result of this year's best-of-seven series.

The skinny: It was 4-1. I guess the way I look at it is real simple for me. "Just try to move on".

The Boston Bruins are the better team here and are much easier to trust with a more balanced attack and consistent playoff success. It would be good if they could put a few in tonight. Just looking at things on paper they are far more talented and are coming off a much better season.

If you've watched this team all season, that shouldn't come as a surprise.

"This is what [Gardiner] did: He came out to the media and said he had a tough Game 7", Babcock said.

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