Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick & Prediction MARCH 7th 2024

The Boston Bruins are following a different track of a season than the one that led to the Presidents’ Trophy in 2022-23.

Despite recent ups and downs, the Bruins are presented with an opportunity to finish a four-game season sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night when the Original Six rivals meet in Boston.

The Bruins, who have lost 10 of their last 15 games (5-4-6), completed a back-to-back set earlier this week that comprised a 4-1 win in Toronto on Monday and a 2-1 overtime loss at home to the Edmonton Oilers an evening later.

“I thought we did a really good job all game limiting (Edmonton’s) chances, to be honest,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “The last two games, I think we played the two highest-scoring teams per game in the league. So I’m happy about the way we checked, I’m happy about the way we’re staying above the puck and not giving up odd-man rushes.”

The NHL-leading 15 overtime losses on Boston’s record, though? That trend will have to change quickly.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to realize we can’t take anything for granted,” Montgomery said. “Because in a couple of months, it doesn’t matter how tired you are at the end of the game. We’ve got to find a way to push through.”

Pavel Zacha scored his third goal in two games to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 4:26 of the third period on Tuesday. Boston failed to hold that advantage and allowed the tying goal with 1:20 left in regulation.

“The feeling afterward (felt) more like a playoff game because it felt like we had it and it slipped out of our hands in the final minute,” Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark said.

Toronto comes to Boston for the second half of its own back-to-back. Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 54th goal this season to down the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs, who trail the second-place Bruins by seven points in the Atlantic Division standings, are 10-2-0 in their last 12 games. They have earned their two most recent wins beyond regulation.

“It was a pretty tight game, not a whole lot going offensively for either team. We just had to stay patient,” Matthews said on Wednesday. “These are important points (this week). … Especially when you’re playing a team that’s (among the) class of the league, we know we have to play our best game.”

Monday marked only the fifth game this season in which Toronto scored just once.

“We did a lot of good things (on Monday), but against Boston you can’t just do good things,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “You have to do great things (like) be ultra-competitive, be great on special teams. A lot of things have to line up.”

With Ilya Samsonov posting a 24-save victory against Buffalo, all signs point to Boston College product Joseph Woll starting in net at TD Garden. It would be his first career start in the building in which he played in Beanpots and Hockey East tournaments for the Eagles.

Keefe noted Wednesday morning that after illness had come through the team, some players would be game-time decisions against Buffalo. Defenseman Jake McCabe did not play versus the Sabres.

–Field Level Media

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