For the second year in a row, the Boston Bruins will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first-round of the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning next week.
Also for the second year in a row, the Boston Bruins will have home ice advantage against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Does home ice advantage mean the Bruins will have a better chance at beating one of their original six rivals? The answer is hard to say.
Home ice advantage made the difference when these two teams met last April. Not only were the Boston Bruins able to win one of the best games in recent history in game seven at the TD Garden almost a year ago, the home team won five of the seven games in that series.
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During the regular season, the Bruins won both games at the TD Garden and split the two games played at Scotiabank Arena.
The biggest advantage for the Boston Bruins is the chance to play up to four games in front of its home crowd. They will have to play either two or three games in Toronto, which is not only a tough place to win; the Toronto Maple Leafs fans dominate there.
No matter what happens, this upcoming best of seven series will be entertaining. Both teams have a mix of veteran leaders and young players who are still improving.
The Bruins will be looking for goals from David Pastrnak, who scored four goals in game two last year, Brad Marchand, who is the first Bruin in 16 years to score 100 points, Patrice Bergeron, who is no stranger to battling injuries in the playoffs and Jake DeBrusk, who stole the show in game seven last year.