The Boston Bruins play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at TD Garden. The Leafs are playing on a back-to-back after a sloppy performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. The officials certainly weren’t calling the game in their favour, but a matchup against the Blue Jackets shouldn’t be in the hands of officials.
Toronto should have buried Columbus to make what the refs call irrelevant in that contest. In any event, the Leafs were able to pick up a point by the end of the night with a loss in overtime. They went with Frederik Andersen between the pipes against the Blue Jackets instead of giving him the better team tonight. Andersen was under pressure with 38 shots against. The defence has a tendency to leave him hanging and that was another instance of Andersen getting no help.
I thought Mike Babcock would have went with Michael Hutchinson against the easier opponent and saved Andersen for the Bruins in Boston. However, Babcock went to Andersen at home against the Blue Jackets, while the backup is expected to get the call against the Bruins this evening. Now they’re in a spot where Hutchinson will have to fend off a Bruins team in Boston. The Leafs topped the Bruins by a score of 4-3 on Saturday night after a tight matchup that had to be decided in overtime.
The Bruins have been off since that Saturday night loss, so they’ve had time to process everything that happened in the loss. Toronto on the other hand had to be out on the ice last night against a Blue Jackets team who they did not take seriously enough. Tuukka Rask is scheduled to be in net for the Bruins on Tuesday, so they’ll have their starting netminder across from Hutchinson. Head below for our free Maple Leafs vs. Bruins pick.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins Pick
Last night was the second game that the Maple Leafs were without the services of captain John Tavares. It didn’t hurt them on Saturday night, but over the course of his absence, I think it’s going to be felt in Toronto. He’s going to be out at least two weeks with a broken finger. That leaves two effective forwards on the mend for the Maple Leafs. Along with Tavares, Zach Hyman is out until November as well.
Tavares does a lot of the little things right that may not show up on the stat sheet. That goes for both ends of the ice, including his back-checking skills and winning battles along the boards. Guys like William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen have to pick it up without Tavares in the lineup, but they don’t like to do a lot of the ugly work that Tavares is capable of. Back in Boston, expect to see his absence felt against a Bruins team who are likely going to come out much stronger than we saw in Toronto.
They’re also going to get to pick up a Leafs team who just played an extra session game last night. Rask has been much better at home in his career, where he owns a 2.13 GAA compared to a 2.43 GAA on the road. And other than that performance on Saturday night, Rask has been a force against the Maple Leafs. He holds a 2.13 GAA and 0.925 save percentage in 29 appearances.
The Bruins have had success over the Leafs in Boston. They’re 8-3 in their last eleven meetings at TD Garden. Boston haven’t lost a game in regulation at home thus far, and have scored an average of 3.3 goals per game on home ice. Hutchinson appears to be in a tough spot for the Leafs tonight.
He’s been less than ideal with a 3.98 GAA and 0.886 save percentage. In two starts, Hutchinson has allowed 9 goals on 74 shots. Don’t expect to see fresh legs for the Leafs’ blue liners after playing last night, so Hutchinson is likely going to be under a lot of pressure to steal this one in Boston. I do not have the most confidence in him being able to do that. Look for the Bruins to get their revenge on the Leafs after faltering in Toronto a few days ago.