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2013 NHL Playoffs: Bruins vs. Leafs Preview, and a look around the East

So the first round may not have been set up exactly the way the Bruins wanted, but Bruins-Leafs is always an adventure.


# 4 vs. # 5 - Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

Who's hot: Patrice Bergeron, with two goals and two assists against the Maple Leafs this year; Tyler Seguin, with two goals and one assist. Tuukka Rask, with only two goals allowed over the course of about two and a half games (came in relief for Anton Khudobin on March 23). For the Maple Leafs: Nazem Kadri, with points in three of four games against Boston this year.

By the numbers: The Bruins have outscored the Maple Leafs this year by a cumulative score of 10-7, hardly blowing them out of the water like in years past. The Bruins' record against the Leafs is 3-1-0, with the Leafs winning their first game against the Bruins in something like two and a half years.

Although we obviously can't rely on fancy stats to tell the whole story, fenwick close is one way to measure how good a team really is. Basically: an average team's fenwick close would be 50%. It's a team's fenwick number when the score is within one goal (or tied in the third period). Boston is actually fourth best in the league with a fenwick close of 54.35; Toronto, a team highly reliant on its goaltending, is actually second WORST in the league, at 44.01. Only Buffalo was worse this season. The Leafs have had incredible puck luck this season, but if the Bruins can manage to finally solve James Reimer, they'll be totally fine in this series.

The last few games for the Bruins have been a struggle, but it's the second season now, with so much more on the line. All the Bruins need are for some of the bounces to start going their way, and to play the entire game with the sort of energy we've seen flashes of. They should be ok.

Advantage: Boston

#1 vs. #8 - Penguins vs. Islanders

Oh boy. Remember that massive Penguins/Islanders brawl game? The one where Mario Lemieux, famed employer of noted filth Matt Cooke, called out the Islanders for their "dirty play"? In short: this is going to be a really, really fun series. The Islanders were outscored by the Penguins 17-9 through five games this season, and Pittsburgh held the 4-1-0 advantage. The Pens will also probably be getting Sidney Crosby back at some point, but I'd say the Islanders have a very fair chance of winning this series. It mostly depends on the play of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury; when he's good, he's serviceable, but when he's bad -- he's pretty much swiss cheese.

The Penguins also had a below-average Fenwick Close, while the Islanders were above average. Again, it's not a be-all-end-all stat, but it's interesting.

Advantage: Pittsburgh, but if it goes the other way I wouldn't be very surprised.

#2 vs. #7 - Canadiens vs. Senators

Did you know the Canadiens only beat Ottawa in regulation ONE TIME this year? How about that. The Senators took them all the way to a shootout two times, and each team won one of those games. Probable coach-of-the-year Paul MacLean has just recently gotten back his star defenseman Erik Karlsson, as well. The Senators, as we saw last night, aren't a team that's easy to mess with. And despite the Canadiens' bounce back from a terrible year last year, they've been struggling pretty hard as of late, as well.

This series is all the Cinderella Senators' to lose; no one expected a team, after losing its star forward, defenseman AND goaltender, to make it this far. They have nothing to lose, and that should scare the Canadiens more than anything.

Advantage: Senators

#3 vs. #6 - Capitals vs. Rangers

All this has happened before, all this will happen again. That should seriously be the motto of this series, because holy moly this seems to be a series that happens EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. The Rangers are currently missing Brian Boyle, Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe, and Derek Dorsett -- so they're hurting a little for defense. Luckily, Henrik Lundqvist is probably up to the challenge.

The Rangers didn't lose to the Capitals in regulation through the three games they played this year, and outscored them 8-4 over those three games. However, the rejuvenated Alex Ovechkin might have something to say about that in the playoffs. These two teams only played once in the second half of the season, when Ovechkin turned on the Jets and carried his team into the playoffs, so we'll see how that works out.

Advantage: Rangers, only because they seem to know how the Capitals work in playoffs, and I don't see this year being any different.