Probably the best thing Randy Carlyle’s Leafs have going for them heading into Boston is it will take some doing to find anybody who believes they can win.
Just look at how the two teams stack up against one another.
The Bruins have a deeper defence corps. They have more experience, with many leftovers from their championship team two years ago. They have the hunger that goes with being knocked out in the first round by the Washington Capitals a year ago in their title defence season.
Up front, they have four lines that can score, including a checking line of Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. GM Peter Chiarelli couldn’t land Jarome Iginla at the trade deadline, but he did okay by landing Jaromir Jagr from Dallas.
Boston has depth down the middle in Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly and Campbell. They’ve got a superb pest in Brad Marchand.
The closest the Leafs have in terms of matchups is in goal where you could argue, at least, that James Reimer and Tuukka Rask are relative equals. Except that Rask has more playoff experience, of course.
So where can the Leafs go for hope?
Well, the Bruins did lose to the Caps last year, and at that time Washington, coached by Dale Hunter, was playing a gritty, defence-first game that frustrated Boston. Joel Ward scored the OT winner in Game 7, the third loss on home ice in that series for the Bruins, who were haunted then as they are now by an anemic power play.