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Need to Know: Bruins at Maple Leafs

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins kicked off their season with a stirring victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, overcoming a two-goal deficit with five unanswered goals to secure their first win.

Now, the Black & Gold turn their attention to Toronto and their first Atlantic Division showdown of the year. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to Ottawa in their opener Wednesday.

Here is what you'll need to know for Saturday night's matchup:

What to Watch For

Can Brad Marchand keep up the pace? It will be hard to match his Opening Night performance, during which he matched a career-high with five points (two goals, three assists). But it appears the line of Marchand, David Backes, and David Pastrnak has plenty of chemistry, despite having played just one game together.

The line combined for all six of Boston's goals and put up a staggering combined rating of plus-16. Backes and Pastrnak also scored two goals apiece.

The young guns acquitted themselves well against Columbus and will be looking to take another step in game No. 2. Brandon Carlo, Rob O'Gara, Austin Czarnik, and Danton Heinen all made their NHL debuts against the Blue Jackets and looked more and more comfortable as the game went on. They will be tested once again on Saturday in what can be one of the hardest environments for a visiting player.

The Air Canada Centre will be rocking for the Maple Leafs' home opener, which will also include a momentous pre-game ceremony to celebrate Toronto's 100th Anniversary season.

Opposing View

So, there's probably one very important name to keep an eye on Saturday.

You may have heard of him…

In one of the most epic NHL debuts of all-time Wednesday night, rookie center Auston Matthews took the hockey world by storm by becoming the first player in modern league history to score four goals in his first game. All of the goals came within the first two periods, but ultimately weren't enough as the Leafs fell to Ottawa, 5-4, in overtime.

But Matthews' skill and ability to take over a game are immense. And you can be sure the Bruins will be doing everything they can to slow him down - if that's possible.

Fellow Maple Leafs rookies William Nylander and Mitch Marner also performed well and should not be overlooked. Nylander played on the left wing alongside Matthews and second-year winger Zach Hyman, registering two assists. Marner matched Matthews with a team-high six shots on goal.

Goaltender Frederick Andersen made his Maple Leafs debut in the opener and had 25 saves on 30 shots. The 27-year-old netminder was 37-22-9 with a 2.30 goals against average and .919 save percentage for Anaheim last season.

Wait, There's More

•   For the first time since 1985-86 (Alain Cote, Dave Pasin, Kraig Nienhuis, and Michael Thelven), the Bruins had four rookies make their NHL debuts on Opening Night.
•   On Thursday night, David Backes became the first player since Jeff Jillson in 2003 to score two goals in his first game with the Bruins and first since Jarno Kultanen in 2000 to register three points.
•   The six goals scored by the Bruins against Columbus were their most in an opener since 1997, a 6-5 win over Los Angeles.

 

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