Almost six full months have passed since the Boston Bruins barnstormed back from a 4-1 deficit to zap the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. The page in this divisional Original Six rivalry will finally turn on Saturday when the Leafs revisit TD Bank Garden.
With all five members of the defunct Northeast Division joining three other teams in the NHL’s new-look Atlantic, this card will be less frequent than in previous years. The Bs and the Buds will square off four times in 2013-14, with the other three instances being December 8, January 14 and April 3.
That notwithstanding, especially with the way the standings are beginning to take shape, each encounter promises to hold significant sway on either party’s playoff direction. Going into Thursday night, Toronto was one of three Atlantic tenants in a virtual tie for first with 20 points, while Boston immediately trailed with 17.
Beneath those basics sit a multitude of intriguing trends and common threads within potentially decisive aspects of the matchup.
Here are five storylines for all followers to remember this Saturday and to keep in handy for the three later installments of the Bruins vs. Maple Leafs season series.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via NHL.com.