The centennial season officially gets underway tonight as the Toronto Maple Leafs host an Original Six rival in their first home game of the 2016-17 season.

Coverage of the centennial season ceremony gets underway at 6:00 p.m. EST on the CBC.

Both the Bruins and the Maple Leafs started their season with a bang on Wednesday and Thursday night — Brad Marchand, rolling in off a lights-out World Cup performance for Team Canada, put up five points against the Columbus Blue Jackets to lead the Bruins to a 6-3 win in Game #1 of the regular season, while Auston Matthews set the hockey world ablaze with an unprecedented four-goal NHL debut in a 5-4 OT loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Like Matthews and his line, the Marchand, David Backes (who is starting at center with Patrice Bergeron out hurt) and David Pastrnak line combined for all six Bruins goals, split two apiece. Mike Babcock will look to match up the Nazem Kadri line with last change at home — while they didn’t generate much in the way of scoring chances, Komarov – Kadri – Michalek defended effectively against the Hoffman, Turris and Stone line by owning the puck. In their roughly five minutes matched up at even strength, Kadri’s line owned 75+% of the shot attempts in the matchup. If that trio can neutralize top lines with some consistency while freeing up the Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner lines for the easier minutes, that will go a long way to making the Leafs a competitive team this season.

The Leafs put up 38 shots against the Ottawa Senators in a game they should’ve won based on their edge in possession, powerplays, and scoring chances. With a few more saves from Frederik Andersen, Matthews’ historic night would’ve been capped by the win it deserved. The performance of the team’s seven rookies had Babcock feeling as optimistic as he’s ever felt as head coach of the Leafs.

While the Senators were the league’s most permissive team from a shots-against standpoint and a bottom five team in possession and goals against last season, the Boston Bruins were a middle of the pack team by most measures. It should be a stiffer test tonight, but the Bruins defense is nonetheless ripe for the picking. With Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid out hurt, the Bruins are running Zdeno Chara alongside rookie Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug alongside a defenceman fresh out of college in Rob O’Gara, and John-Michael Liles and Colin Miller on their bottom pair.

Matthews, Marner and Nikita Zaitsev will all be making their ACC debuts on Hockey Night In Canada as the Maple Leafs celebrate the turn of the new century. Doesn’t get much better than this.

The Leaf – Blueprint Episode 1

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines


van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Milan Michalek – Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Matt Martin – Peter Holland – Connor Brown

Scratched: Seth Griffith
Injured: Josh Leivo


Martin Marincin – Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Nikita Zaitsev

Scratched: Roman Polak, Frank Corrado


Starter: Frederik Andersen
Backup: Jhonas Enroth

Powerplay Units

Leo Komarov
Auston Matthews – William Nylander – Milan Michalek
Nikita Zaitsev

James van Riemsdyk
Nazem Kadri – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Jake Gardiner

Boston Bruins Projected Lines


Brad Marchand – David Backes – David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner – David Krejci – Danton Heinen
Matt Beleskey – Austin Czarnik – Jimmy Hayes
Dominic Moore – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Injured: Patrice Bergeron, Frank Vatrano


Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug – Rob O’Gara
John-Michael Liles – Colin Miller

Injured: Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid


Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

Mike Babcock: Morning Skate