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5 Keys: Maple Leafs at Bruins, Game 2

Toronto wants to push pace; Boston needs more from top line

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer


8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS

Toronto leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to use the same combination of speed and skill that led to a series-opening victory when they visit the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

Toronto's ability to push the tempo led to multiple breakaway chances during a 4-1 Game 1 win. The Bruins will try to be more physical in hopes of duplicating their success against the Maple Leafs during the regular season, when they went 3-1-0.

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:


[RELATED: Complete Maple Leafs vs. Bruins series coverage]


1. Bruins need more from first line

The top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak combined for 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in Boston's seven-game series win against Toronto last season. But none of the three was at his best in Game 1, even though Bergeron scored Boston's goal on a first-period power play. That limited what the Bruins could do in terms of shuffling the lineup and trickled down to what became a lackluster effort.

The Bruins must have their best players be their best players to win, so more is needed from Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak in Game 2.


2. Maple Leafs can't let up

The Maple Leafs didn't pull back when they got ahead of the Bruins in Game 1. Unlike the past two Game 7s against Boston, when the Bruins won after rallying in the third period, Toronto not only didn't let up but was able to build on its lead. The Maple Leafs kept pushing the tempo, kept the pressure on and were rewarded.

They would do well to learn from their Game 1 success with the series sure to get tighter as it progresses.


3. DeBrusk's health

Boston forward Jake DeBrusk got banged up in Game 1 when he went hard into the boards after chasing down Toronto forward Mitchell Marner on a shorthanded breakaway early in the second period. DeBrusk left the game briefly but returned. Though DeBrusk said he was 100 percent after the game, he was given a maintenance day Friday, with David Backes practicing as the third-line right wing and Marcus Johansson taking DeBrusk's spot as left wing on the second line.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he anticipates DeBrusk will be able to play in Game 2, and Backes will be in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Game 1; Cassidy had been contemplating adding Backes' thump to counter the speed of the Maple Leafs.

But DeBrusk is crucial. The 27-goal scorer helps create the offensive depth that the Bruins have worked so hard to find this season. He would be a significant loss.


4. Beware of stretch passes

The Maple Leafs like to catch opponents off-guard with stretch passes to expose the defense and send their forwards in on breakaways. They did that to excellent effect in Game 1. But they also need to be careful; the Bruins have caught up to those in the past and made them pay.

The question is whether Toronto can pick its spots effectively, as was generally the case in Game 1, rather than watching those passes become turnovers that lead to odd-man rushes.

The Bruins generally have been able to cut off the passing lanes and force the Maple Leafs to go east-west instead of north-south. But that wasn't the case in in the series opener, and Boston must find an answer to slow down speedy Toronto in Game 2.


5. Bruins must shut down Marner

Toronto's leading scorer during the regular season (94 points; 26 goals, 68 assists), Marner has been a huge factor in each of the past two series between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs. He had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the seven-game loss to Boston last season and scored two goals in this Game 1 victory.

Though the Maple Leafs have plenty of offensive weapons, including centers John Tavares and Auston Matthews, no one has had the postseason success against the Bruins that Marner has.

"He's a good player," Cassidy said. "He's played well against us, and obviously we need to find an answer to him. Last year, they went through this a bit with a couple of our guys on our top line, so we know what's in front of us."


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- Kasperi Kapanen

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- William Nylander

Trevor Moore -- Frederik Gauthier -- Connor Brown

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Muzzin -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Travis Dermott

Frederik Andersen

Garret Sparks

Scratched: Tyler Ennis, Nic Petan, Martin Marincin, Calle Rosen, Michael Hutchinson, Joseph Woll

Injured: None


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Karson Kuhlman

Marcus Johansson -- Charlie Coyle -- Danton Heinen

Chris Wagner -- Noel Acciari -- David Backes

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Joakim Nordstrom

Injured: Sean Kuraly (fractured hand), John Moore (upper body), Kevan Miller (lower body)


Status report

Toronto will go with the same lineup from Game 1. … DeBrusk didn't practice Friday but will likely play. … Backes, a healthy scratch for Game 1, will return but Cassidy didn't reveal who will be scratched. correspondent Matt Kalman contributed to this report

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