Rielly set for Bru­ins chal­lenge

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - TERRY KOSHAN tkoshan@post­media.com

The bet­ting is that Mor­gan Rielly, who led the Toronto Maple Leafs in ice time through 15 games, sees plenty of the Bru­ins’ top line of Pa­trice Berg­eron, Brad Marc­hand and David Pas­tr­nak when the two At­lantic Divi­sion ri­vals re­new hos­til­i­ties on Sat­ur­day in Bos­ton. Few in the NHL are bet­ter than Marc­hand at turn­ing the screw, ei­ther by scor­ing or ag­i­tat­ing, and he will be look­ing to build off 30 points in 36 ca­reer games against Toronto. Still, Rielly, who is av­er­ag­ing 22 min­utes and 30 sec­onds a game, is not the kind to get flus­tered. Here are 5 Things to Watch for in Bos­ton:

1. Re­mem­ber when?: The Maple Leafs, and specif­i­cally de­fence­man Jake Gar­diner, prob­a­bly would like to have some se­lec­tive mem­ory. The Leafs make their first visit to Bos­ton since April 25, when the Bru­ins scored four goals in the third pe­riod of Game 7 in the first round to beat the Leafs 7-4. Gar­diner, un­fairly, was the scape­goat for some as he was mi­nus-5 in the game. The Leafs have moved on, but you can bet it will be on the minds of some.

2. Halak on deck: With Tuukka Rask granted a leave of ab­sence for per­sonal rea­sons, the Leafs will get a look at Bru­ins backup goalie Jaroslav Halak . In 16 ca­reer games against Toronto, Halak has lost just three times in reg­u­la­tion, com­pil­ing a mark of 8-3-4 with a .909 save per­cent­age and a 2.94 goals-against aver­age. Fac­ing Halak should not be seen as an ad­van­tage, as he has been sharp in nine games this sea­son, post­ing a .936 save per­cent­age.

3. Ex­tra spe­cial evening ?: Could this be a game where the Maple Leafs’ power play tilts the scale to­ward a Toronto vic­tory? The Bru­ins have been strong de­fen­sively dur­ing 5-on-5 play, al­low­ing 21 goals, the sec­ond fewest in the NHL. De­spite the pres­ence of 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara and Pa­trice Berg­eron on the penalty kill, Bos­ton has not been stel­lar, al­low­ing 11 power-play goals on 49 op­po­si­tion chances. At the same time, the Bru­ins are one of the NHL’s top power-play clubs.

4. Eyes on Berg­eron: When­ever the Leafs and Bru­ins have met in high­in­ten­sity games — or any time dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son — Pa­trice Berg­eron has been a fac­tor. Whether it’s Nazem Kadri or John Tavares who gets the matchup, the Leafs cen­tre will have to pay at­ten­tion to ev­ery lit­tle de­tail when Berg­eron is on the ice.

5. Depth on Par: Be­fore the Leafs played host to the New Jersey Devils on Fri­day night, coach Mike Bab­cock was laud­ing the play of the third line, Par Lind­holm be­tween An­dreas Johns­son and Con­nor Brown. As the Leafs try to ex­tend a road win­ning streak to seven games, the depth pro­vided by the third line might have to make greater of­fen­sive con­tri­bu­tions.


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