8 a.m. ET: The Northeast Division is arguably the best in the league, and a lot of that has to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ resurgence.
While former general manager Brian Burke was fired before the start of the season, his plan is still in place, and it’s finally starting to see success. The Leafs come into Boston on Thursday and they are coming in hot. Toronto sits just four points behind first-place Montreal and just three points behind the second-place Bruins.
They have used one of the league’s best offenses to become one of the conference’s most dangerous teams, and it starts with a couple of players. The Leafs decided to part ways with Luke Schenn in June, and they were able to bring in James van Riemsdyk. He’s been the Leafs’ best offensive player this season, scoring his 13th goal of the season Wednesday in a wild 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Thursday night will mark the second meeting of the year between the two Original Six rivals. The Bruins took the the first meeting on Feb. 2 with a 1-0 win over the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.
The B’s will be hoping to replicate that success on Thursday, especially given the fact they’re coming off two of their most disappointing losses of the season. Boston saw third-period leads disappear on Sunday and Monday against the Canadiens and Capitals respectively, and they will try to clean things up on Thursday night. With that win, the Bruins are now riding a seven-game winning streak against Toronto after sweeping the season series last year.
Puck drop from the Garden is scheduled for 7 p.m.