Yep, you read that right. NHL-Best Toronto.
Tonight's game isn't just a chance for the Bruins to make a statement with their second win in as many tries against the Leafs, it's also as good a spot as any for Boston to get its lackluster offense going.
That offense, which showed signs of promise in a 5-2 win over Ottawa on Tuesday, cycling and forechecking well for the first time all season, has a chance to keep the momentum going against a second young team in Toronto that prefers odd-man rushes to the backcheck and bad-angle shots to puck possession.
That's not to say that the Leafs haven't looked good this year, but their 19 points in 13 games have come from outscoring their opposition, not necessarily outplaying them.
We saw that two weeks ago in Boston, when a hot Toronto team was shut down by a stalwart Bruins defense, with NHL leading scorer Phil Kessel held pointless and the Bruins played pepper with Jonas Gustavsson, scoring six times on the Leafs' hapless backup, who knew he wasn't getting a break because Ron Wilson wanted to rest James Reimer, who'd backstopped the Leafs to a 4-0-1 start to pace the league.
The Bruins probably won't get Reimer tonight, nor will they get Gustavsson - Ben Scrivens was the first goaltender off the ice for Toronto at this morning's practice and will start tonight, because Wilson wants to see how he responds to two starts in a row. Scrivens stopped 38 shots against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night to lead Toronto to a 4-1 win. Toronto will also give Luke Schenn the night off.
Seeing how your rookie goaltender responds to two starts in a row is a luxury that's afforded a team that sits atop its conference in early November. The Bruins, on the other hand, don't really have that option. It should be Tim Thomas in net again tonight for Boston as the B's look for their first consecutive-game points streak of the season.
Public skate will be up at 6:30. So get your beers ready, and get your game faces on. And please, try to only watch LSU-Alabama during commercials and intermissions.