Bruins

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs: Schedule set for first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs: Schedule set for first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs were confirmed as a first-round matchup long ago. But now, we officially have the details of the schedule, as the series gets underway on Thursday.

The first two games on Thursday and Saturday will be at the TD Garden. The Bruins clinched home-ice advantage following their 6-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier last week.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Game 1: Thursday, April 11 -- Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 1
Game 2: Saturday, April 13 -- Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1
Game 3: Monday, April 15 -- Maple Leafs 3, Bruins 2
Game 4: Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m. @ Toronto
Game 5: Friday, April 19, 7 p.m. ET @ Boston
Game 6: Sunday, April 21, TBA @ Toronto (if necessary)
Game 7: Tuesday, April 23, TBA @ Boston (if necessary)

Games 1, 3, and 4 of the series will be aired on NBCSN while Game 2 will be on NBC. And all Stanley Cup Playoff games can be seen on the NBC Sports App.

This is the second consecutive year in which the Bruins have taken on the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. Last year, the series went seven games with the Bruins ultimately coming out on top at the end. Here's a recap of exactly how that series went down.

In this year's season series, the Bruins went 3-1 against the Maple Leafs and outscored them 16-10. Jaroslav Halak started three games, posting a 2-1 record, while Tuukka Rask won his only appearance in the season series, posting 30 saves and allowing just two goals.

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Charlie Coyle opens up about trade from Wild to Bruins

Charlie Coyle opens up about trade from Wild to Bruins

Before the 2019 NHL trade deadline, Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle went through a trying experience. Then a member of the Minnesota Wild, Coyle was told that he had been traded. However, he couldn't yet know where he was going.

“I had a missed call and a text from [general manager] Paul [Fenton] and so I just knew, obviously,” Coyle said, per Michael Russo of The Athletic. “I called him and he told me I was involved in a trade, so don’t go on the plane. But he couldn’t tell me where I was going yet because it’s not finalized. He felt really bad about it.

“It was so weird because suddenly I’m at a place where I’m not on an NHL team for however many hours. I don’t know where I am. I can’t say goodbye to my teammates. It’s so hard to tell my family, my girlfriend, my friends, ‘I’m traded, we’re going somewhere … but I don’t know where yet.’”

Fenton did say to Coyle “I think in the end you’ll be OK” with the destination. And that certainly was the case.

Coyle was sent to the Bruins in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick. Coyle had grown up in Weymouth, Mass., and was being given a chance to play for his hometown team. And since joining the squad, he has provided a massive upgrade for a problem spot in their lineup.

Coyle has solidified the Bruins' weak third line and has proven to be a revelation for the team, especially during their Cup run. So far in the postseason, Coyle has been excellent, logging 12 points (six goals, six assists) and a plus-9 rating through 17 playoff games. That rating is tied for third-best on the team.

Most importantly, Coyle has proven to be clutch and scored a key, game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their series. In overtime, Coyle took a pass from Marcus Johansson and placed it perfectly into the back of the net from close range on Sergei Bobrovsky. It was a beautiful play and one that fulfilled a life-long dream for Coyle.

“I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’d put the net in front of my driveway and either play with the neighborhood kids or myself and score the big playoff-winning goal for the Bruins,” Coyle said via Russo. “And then to actually do it in reality … with my family in the crowd, oh my God.”

Coyle will certainly have a chance to perform well and etch himself into Boston sports folklore during the Stanley Cup Final. But certainly, the Bruins have to be glad about the return they got on the trade for Coyle. While some thought that giving up Donato and a draft pick was a steep price, Coyle has proven to be a key cog for the team.

Coyle will once again suit up in front of the TD Garden crowd on Monday at 8 p.m. ET when the Bruins take on the St. Louis Blues. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final can be seen on NBC or streamed on the NBC Sports App.

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How Cam Neely drew from '88, '90 Bruins while building current Cup team

How Cam Neely drew from '88, '90 Bruins while building current Cup team

Cam Neely hasn't forgotten his two losses in the Stanley Cup Final as a player. And he has no interest in repeating them.

Neely was on the 1988 and 1990 Boston Bruins teams that ran into the buzzsaw that was Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers. The B's were clearly overmatched -- they got swept in '88 and won one game in '90 -- but Neely apparently was taking notes he'd refer to decades later as president of the Bruins.

When asked Friday about the differences between the B's of his playing days and Boston's 2019 team, Neely pointed to the improved depth of his current squad.

"You get to be an age after you played, you’re retired, and you have these ‘what ifs,’ and there’s no question," Neely said during a press conference at TD Garden. "We look at the years ’88 and ’90, more particularly than ’88, I thought if we had a little bit more depth we might have had a better chance to win."

Neely admitted Boston's shortcomings in those two series against Edmonton motivated him and the Bruins' front office to build a roster that wouldn't suffer the same fate.

"Those are things that stick with you for sure," Neely added. "And then when you get in a position like we’re in to craft a lineup, you talk about depth and how do we get that depth."

Neely and general manager Don Sweeney have built an impressively deep Bruins squad that's gotten goals from 19 different players entering the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.

Trade deadline acquisitions Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle both have been productive throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while homegrown talents like Matt Grzelcyk and Danton Heinen have helped complement the Bruins' veteran core.

It's a different squad than the top-heavy '88 and '90 teams, which relied on Neely and Ray Bourque to shoulder much of the workload.

Neely's lesson learned has paid off so far, but there's one more hurdle to clear in the St. Louis Blues, who come to TD Garden on Monday night for Game 1.

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