So, it’s Boston.
The Leafs will open the playoffs Wedesday in Boston against the skidding Bruins who fell 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators Sunday night in Boston.
The Bruins, coming off a string of seven games in 10 nights have gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games to set up the first playoff series between the teams since 1974.
To put that in perspective, Bobby Orr was a 25-year-old 122-point defenceman the last time the two teams met in the post-season. For posterity’s sake you should know Boston swept the Leafs.
The Leafs will be led by Phil Kessel, tied with Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz as the league’s seventh-highest scorer.
Kessel has nine points including four goals in his last five games but his problems against Boston, his former team, are well-documented. Kessel has a scant three goals against Boston in 22 games and has been neutralized by hulking Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara.
The focus of the Boston-Toronto series immediately shifts to whether Kessel can hurt the Bruins. Kessel has been without his regular centre, Tyler Bozak, who has missed the team’s last two games with an undisclosed injury.
While Kessel has been hot, Nazem Kadri has struggled. The 22-year-old Leaf centre racked up 44 points in 48 games but has just one goal in his last 10 games The Leafs, 26-17-5 went 1-2-1 against the 28-14-6 Bruins this season.
The Leafs finished tied for ninth in wins, 14th on power play percentage and second on the penalty kill.
Boston finished sixth in wins but struggled on the power play with the league’s 26th most effective unit. The Bruins trailed only Ottawa, Toronto and Chicago in penalty killing efficiency.