While the Bruins are awaiting the return of Nathan Horton from his undisclosed injury after missing five games to conclude the regular season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping to have center Tyler Bozak back after he missed the last two games of the season with an undisclosed injury.
If the Leafs have to play any part of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Bruins without Bozak, they will really miss him.
The center practiced briefly today in Toronto. And according to the Toronto Sun, Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said his “expectation” is that Bozak will play in Game 1 Wednesday.
Bozak put up 12-16-28 totals in 46 games with a minus-1 rating. But the Leafs rely on Bozak for more than just points as their No. 1 center. The Leafs ranked second in penalty kill percentage during the regular season and Bozak was fourth among Leafs forwards in 1:38 of ice time shorthanded. He was also the Leafs’ leader in overall time on ice among forwards at 20:18 per game.
But more than anything, the Leafs need Bozak for faceoffs. As a team Toronto ranked 15th at 50 percent, and Bozak won 52.6 of his draws. He also took a whopping 1,063 faceoffs in those 46 games. Without Bozak, the Leafs will have a tough time against the Bruins, who were the best faceoff team in the league, led by Patrice Bergeron at 62.1 percent (best in the NHL).
So with the series two days away from opening, both the Bruins and Leafs are in need of a key forward to get healthy.