Bruins vs. Leafs Game 1 lineup: Projected lines, pairings, goalies


Bruins vs. Leafs Game 1 lineup: Projected lines, pairings, goalies originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

UPDATE (Saturday, April 20 at 7:43 p.m. ET): Jeremy Swayman is the starting goalie for the Bruins.

–End of update–

The Stanley Cup Playoffs is all about tough, physical hockey and lots of excitement. And no first-round series embodies those attributes more than the matchup between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bruins-Leafs is arguably the NHL’s most intense rivalry in 2024. If this series has the amount of intensity we saw from the last regular season meeting in Boston on March 7 — when these teams racked up a combined 50 penalty minutes, including two fights and lots of post-whistle scrums — then we’re in store for an awesome two weeks ahead.

The Leafs have been an up-and-coming team for several years thanks to a loaded roster of young stars, especially up front. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares represent the core of the franchise. The Leafs have invested a lot of money into this group, but it’s produced only one playoff series win (last season vs. Lightning). These guys aren’t young anymore. Experience isn’t an issue.

After another stellar regular season, headlined by Matthews leading the league with 69 goals, the Leafs’ core is under immense pressure to finally go on a deep playoff run.

The Bruins have largely exceeded expectations this season. They were in the Presidents’ Trophy mix nearly the entire campaign before finishing second to the Panthers in the Atlantic Division. The spotlight on the Bruins is in net. Everyone is waiting to see which goalie starts Game 1 on Saturday night.

Linus Ullmark has been one of the league’s best netminders since the trade deadline. He ranked No. 2 in both save percentage (.935) and GAA (1.90) over that span. He’s the Bruins goalie most deserving to start the series opener based on performance. But it would be hard to fault Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery if he went with Jeremy Swayman in Game 1 because of his recent success against the Leafs. Swayman beat Toronto three times in three starts this season. He stopped 93 of the 97 shots he faced.

Montgomery was asked after Saturday’s morning skate about his Game 1 starter. He refused to answer. We might not find out until about 40 minutes before puck drop Saturday when pre-game warmups commence.

The only real uncertainty for the Leafs lineup is the status of Nylander, who was not on the ice for Toronto’s optional morning skate. Nylander scored 40 goals with 58 assists for the Leafs in the regular season.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Game 1 of the playoffs. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at TD Garden.

Boston Bruins (0-0)

Forwards

Danton Heinen–Pavel Zacha–David Pastrnak

Brad Marchand–Charlie McAvoy–Jake DeBrusk

Jakub Lauko–Morgan Geekie–Trent Frederic

John Beecher–Jesper Boqvist–Pat Maroon

Defensemen

Hampus Lindholm–Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk–Brandon Carlo

Kevin Shattenkirk–Andrew Peeke

Goalies

Jeremy Swayman

Toronto Maple Leafs (0-0)

Forwards

Tyler Bertuzzi–Auston Matthews–Max Domi

Calle Jarnkrok–John Tavares–Mitch Marner

Bobby McMann–Pontus Holmberg–William Nylander

Matthew Knies–David Kampf–Connor Dewar

Defensemen

Morgan Rielly-Ilya Lyubushkin

Simon Benoit–Jake McCabe

Joel Edmundson–Timothy Liljegren

Goalies

Ilya Samsonov





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