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Bruins playoff lineup projection 3.0: McAvoy, Lindholm on top pairing?

Bruins playoff lineup projection 3.0: McAvoy, Lindholm on top pairing?

Bruins playoff lineup projection 3.0: McAvoy, Lindholm on top pairing? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will renew their rivalry in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins went 4-0-0 against the Leafs during the regular season and eliminated Toronto in the first round in 2013, 2018 and 2019. But despite this recent success against the Leafs, there’s no question Toronto presents plenty of challenges for the B’s. Few teams have as much elite scoring talent as the Leafs, who finished as the NHL’s second-highest scoring team this season.

“Offensively, they’re a gifted hockey club,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Thursday in a press conference. “They present a lot of challenges down around the net front area, and we’re going to have to be really sharp there. We’re a pretty good team defensively when we stick to what our principles are, so I expect it to be a tight series overall.

“Obviously, their power play is really good, our penalty killing has been pretty consistent throughout the year, our power play needs to come back online here. Fortunately, we scored a goal the other night to hopefully give the guys a little bit of confidence. It’s going to be a really good challenge on all levels. A good hockey club, a good opponent. If you’ve made it to the playoffs, you’ve earned a right here, and Toronto will present a really good challenge.”

What will the Bruins’ lines and pairings look like for Game 1 on Saturday night? Here’s our third and final playoff lineup projection.

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The Heinen-Zacha-Pastrnak trio outscored opponents 16-6 in 175:27 of 5-on-5 action this season. Breaking up this line would be a mistake, particularly when Zacha and Pastrnak have such great chemistry from playing together each of the last two years. Heinen is a versatile forward who has spent time on pretty much every line at some point this season, but he’s recently found a home on the top line with the Czech duo.

No Bruins line played more together this season than the Marchand-Coyle-DeBrusk trio. This line outscored opponents 14-9 despite often playing against top competition. All…

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