Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston Bruins. Saturday night. Game 7.

It didn’t necessarily arrive the way we might have expected it to, but in many ways, it felt like it was always going to come down to this (8p.m. EST, Sportsnet/CBC/ESPN).

To get where you want to go in life, you usually have to triumph over your greatest obstacles. For over a decade now, no greater obstacle has been hanging over this franchise than a Game 7 in Boston. Tonight, the Leafs get yet another opportunity to slay the dragon.

This is an opportunity the Leafs have earned. After going down 3-1 in the series, the Leafs have gotten full marks in back-to-back wins to keep their season alive, tightening right up defensively, getting stability in net from Joseph Woll, and scoring just enough to win both games.

Sheldon Keefe even tinkered with a winning lineup, swapping out Ryan Reaves for Noah Gregor and moving up Kampf and Dewar to play alongside Jarnkrok in a checking matchup role against the Bruins third line that has given them some fits this series, and it turned out to be an inspired move.

Now, it’s possible Auston Matthews is back for Game 7, and they will have to shake things up yet again if that’s the case (and yes, of course, they should sit someone like Noah Gregor so that Matthews can play). If he’s still not ready — and Sheldon Keefe indicated as much — then it should be business as usual for a Leafs team that has won two straight and swung momentum in this series. The winning formula is there regardless of who is playing.

On the Bruins side, it looks like Danton Heinen and Andrew Peeke might be back. Lineup changes are expected on their side, given their losses, and they even changed their morning skate routine to try to shake out of their rut. They are reeling right now, and the first goal in this game is all the more important, given where both teams stand.

Maple Leafs’ Keys to Game 7 

via Anthony Petrielli

–  I am not sure if Boston is going to be nervous or come out with guns blazing at home, but I don’t really care either way. The Leafs should stick with what works: get pucks deep, cause turnovers on the forecheck, slow the game down, and grind them in ozone. A road game recipe.

– The PP needs to be sorted. If the first one goes poorly with the regular crew, change it up. Either start PP2 or mix up the units, but they need something to jolt them. The Bruins are doing a good job pressuring half-wall + point, so work it low and crash the net.

– The PK needs to continue to swarm.

– At 5v5, the Leafs’ D has been great at defending their blue line, and the forwards are tracking back really well. They are making it very difficult for BOS to get through. They need to continue that.

– Keep it simple on breakouts, and don’t give Boston anything easy. Chip it out if need be.

– Game 7 shouldn’t be about heroes; it should be about everyone doing their job and chipping in for the team’s greater good. Everyone has a role to play and has to chip in to get where they want to go. Sacrifice.

–  Have some fun

–  Slay the dragon.

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins — Series Shot Attempts & Heat Map (5v5)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines*

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #11 Max Domi – #16 Mitch Marner
#23 Matthew Knies – #91 John Tavares – #88 William Nylander
#29 Pontus Holmberg – #34 Auston Matthews – #19 Calle Jarnkrok
#24 Connor Dewar – #64 David Kampf – #18 Noah Gregor

#44 Morgan Rielly – #46 Ilya Lyubushkin
#2 Simon Benoit – #22 Jake McCabe
#20 Joel Edmundson – #37 Timothy Liljegren

Starter: #35 Ilya Samsonov
#30 Martin Jones

Extras: Nick Robertson, TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Conor Timmins, Ryan Reaves, Martin Jones, Cade Webber
Injured/Out: Bobby McMann, Joseph Woll

Boston Bruins Projected Lines*

#18 Pavel Zacha – #39 Morgan Geeke – #88 David Pastrnak
#63 Brad Marchand – #13 Charlie Coyle – #74 Jake DeBrusk
#21 James Van Riemsdyk – #11 Trent Frederic – #55 Justin Brazeau
#19 John Beecher – #70 Jesper Boqvist – #61 Patrick Maroon

#6 Mason Lohrei – #73 Charlie McAvoy
#27 Hampus Lindholm – #25 Brandon Carlo
#29 Parker Wotherspoon – #12 Kevin Shattenkirk

Starter: #1 Jeremy Swayman
#35 Linus Ullmark

Extras: Matt Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort, Jakub Lauko
Injured/Out: Andrew Peeke, Danton Heinen, Milan Lucic 

*Note: At playoff time, with neither coach forthcoming on lineup decisions or injury situations, the final lineups won’t be known until close to puck drop.