Entering the game on a high note after securing win number 60 and knocking the St. Louis Blues out of playoff contention, the Boston Bruins get set to take on the Atlantic Division rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night back at the TD Garden.
The Bruins won the first two games of April and are 4-1-0 in their last five games, with the one setback coming to Juuse Saros, old friend Jeremy Lauzon, and the Nashville Predators. The Maple Leafs are in second place in the Atlantic Division, having secured a playoff spot with a 46-21-10 record, including a 4-0-1 stretch in their last five games, including a three game winning streak.
On the season, the Bruins are 2-1-0 against Toronto this season. They lost their first meeting in Toronto by a 2-1 score in November as the team was in the middle of the Mitchell Miller mess. They met again in Boston in January, with the Bruins winning 4-3. They met again in Toronto in February, with the Bruins prevailing 5-2. They can win the season series 3-1 with a win on Thursday.
Linus Ullmark got the start in Sunday’s win over the Blues, but with three days of rest and Jim Montgomery saying he wanted Ullmark to get a larger workload to get him ramped up for the postseason, it’s safe to assume that Ullmark will get the start in this one.
As we’ve said on this site many times before, Ullmark is in the midst of a Vezina caliber season. He has a 38-6-1 record on the season with a 1.90 GAA and .937 save percentage. He is 4-1-0 in his last five starts with seven goals allowed in that stretch.
After Matt Murray left Toronto’s game on Sunday injured, it’ll be Ilya Samsonov that starts for the Maple Leafs. He is 25-10-4 on the season, posting a 2.41 GAA and .915 save percentage.
It seems bad compared to Ullmark, but Samsonov is having a good first season up in Canada. Samsonov is 2-2-1 in his last five games, including his appearance on Sunday after Murray left injured.
On the injury front, Patrice Bergeron missed the past two games with nagging injuries, while David Krejci sat out Sunday’s game with nagging injury as well, with defenseman Charlie McAvoy getting a day off as well. All three players are expected back in the lineup, returning the team to full strength.