That's probably a headline you never thought you'd read, right?
Despite losing in seven games (and blowing a 4-1 lead in the third period of game seven that was unlike anything we've ever seen) the Toronto Maple Leafs have had more success against the Boston Bruins than any other team in these playoffs. That means that, maybe, the Pittsburgh Penguins can learn something from them.
So, how did the Leafs have success against the Bruins? For that information, we look to our friends at Pension Plan Puppets.
Here are a few things they said in their game recap after the Leafs won game five:
James Reimer was a thing of beauty last night. Goaltending got us here, goaltending is keeping us here.
The Leafs breakout continues to have options against the Bruins, in part due to the strong passes and fine skating Jake brings to the team. His defensive partner, Cody Franson, looked good as well – it's fun to see two offensively talented players, rather than one talented player and one boat anchor.
The Leafs have been playing well with their speed, but Carlyle should be livid about a 4-19 shot differential in the third – failing to clear the zone nearly sent the game to overtime.
Those are three strong points that show how the Leafs managed to find success against the Bruins: goaltending, strong passes, fine skating and speed.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have exactly none of those things right now.
Interestingly enough, take a look at what Days of Y'Orr said after the Leafs beat the Bruins in game six:
The Bruins have played like a team that bought into their own hype. They have dominated the Leafs the past few seasons and went into the season playing like a team that expected their opposition to just roll over and die. They came out in Game 1 and DOMINATED again. Since then they've played like a team that didn't expect the Leafs to fight back and then had ZERO idea what to do when their opponent wouldn't just die for them.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
While we're on the topic of stopping your opponent from succeeding, Jesse from Faceoff-Factor has a great post on what the Bruins are doing to succeed against the Penguins:
Essentially, the Bruins are hanging one forward back and stacking three guys at the blueline to prevent the Penguins from doing any of the following:
1. Stretch pass into the zone.
2. Skate with speed into the zone.
3. Find any area of open ice in the slot area if/when the Penguins enter the offensive zone.
This is a frustrating system to play against.
Now, obviously, the Boston Bruins are playing better hockey than they were in round one. However, also obviously, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a better team than the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They'll have to adapt if they hope to suceed.