The Bruins have known who their first-round opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was going to be for the last 10 days, but it’s not as though Bruce Cassidy and his staff had to dig particularly deep into their film to size up what Boston was set to face in the Maple Leafs.
The book has been out on Toronto for the past couple of seasons when it comes to what to expect from Mike Babcock’s club: keep the puck down low and find gaps in the Leafs’ haphazard D corps — and get into a track meet at your own risk.
“We know we’re fast in this locker room,” Leafs forward Mitch Marner said. “I think when we play right it’s hard to stop us.”
In the immediate aftermath of Boston’s disappointing 4-1 loss to the Leafs in Game 1, Patrice Bergeron was candid when asked to sum up what a Boston defense that has only relinquished an average of 2.4 goals on home ice faced against an explosive Leafs offense.
“To be honest, it was nothing we didn’t expect,” he said. “We talked a lot about taking care of the blue lines and you know, playing playoff hockey. And a lot of that wasn’t done tonight.”
During a playoff series in which an immovable force (a third-ranked Bruins defense at 2.58 GA/G) meets an unstoppable object (a fourth-ranked Toronto offense at 3.49 GF/G), one has to expect both clubs to trade some shots in the ring.
What Boston wasn’t expecting was tripping on the ropes on the way in.