GDT: Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game #2, Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins (7 p.m., CBC)

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The three day break has given us much time to digest the events of Wednesday night. The Leafs can draw inspiration from the inexperienced Islanders last night with the way that team was blown out in game 1, looked to be in the process of getting blown out early in game 2, fought back, and now find themselves on equal footing in a best of five series against the heavily favoured Penguins. All we can do is hope the Leafs make the necessary adjustments and find something more within themselves tonight in Boston.

Speaking of adjustments, Paul Hendrick reports Jake Gardiner is “expected” to play tonight (not confirmed), a move that would see the Leafs add some mobility and puck moving ability on the back end in an effort to shore up the breakout and zone entry issues from Game 1. Lineup after the jump.

 

Forwards:

JvR – Bozak – Kessel
Lupul – Kadri – Kulemin
McClement – Grabovski – Frattin
Hamilton – McClement – Orr
Scratched: MacArthur

Defence:

Gunnarsson – Phaneuf
Fraser – Franson
Gardiner – O’Byrne
Scratched: Liles

Quite simply, very few Leafs played better than below average on Saturday. Individually each must be better, and at the team level hopefully Carlyle has seen how the Bruins are gameplanning the Leafs and tweaks a few things accordingly. It’s not like the Bruins will change anything about the way they played the Leafs. Outside of trapping them a little more Wednesday, it was the same formula Boston used in their last dozen predominantly successful games vs. the Leafs.  This Leafs team should better know what to expect in a playoff environment and hopefully it shows.

Go Leafs Go. Surprise us all.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He’s published five magazines on the team entitled “The Maple Leafs Annual” with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosts “The Battle of the Atlantic,” a weekly show on TSN1200 that covers the Leafs and the NHL in-depth.

Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada’s Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian.

You can contact him at [email protected]