WILMINGTON — The Bruins should know better than anyone that an opponent can improve from one meeting to the next. Any team that has faced them in both October and November have learned that the hard way.
That’s why when the B’s face the Leafs in a home-and-home Wednesday and Saturday, the Bruins won’t be overconfident just because they’ve picked up two lopsided wins and have outscored the Leads, 13-1, in their two meetings this season.
“It’s like teams that played us earlier in the year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien  said after Monday’s practice. “We’re not the same team anymore, so that’s how you make sure you don’t get too overconfident by understanding there’s some highs and lows during the season with teams. Right now they’re playing extremely well.”
As has been made obvious in the two meetings with Toronto, the way to beat the Leafs is to take advantage of the many scoring opportunities they allow. In addition to the Bruins having scored a combined 13 goals in two games against Toronto this year, the Leafs have allowed 3.1 goals per game this season, which is 24th in the league.
Julien cautions against reading too much into that. More recently, the Leafs have allowed 10 goals over their last five games, a span in which they’ve gone 4-1-0. The goaltending they’ve received from Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens has been stronger, with Gustavsson getting the start in four of those games. The B’s saw both goalies in their 7-0 win over the Leafs on Nov. 5, but since then the team has played better defensively and the goalies have seen better results.
“The last time we played them, I think they were struggling a little bit defensively, not just against us, but they’d been giving up a lot of goals,” Julien said. “That’s not the case right now.”
What Julien hopes is that the Bruins, much like they have during their current hot streak (11-0-1) is not think about what’s happened, but what is about to happen. With the two teams neck and neck in the standings (the Leafs, who have played two more games than the B’s, lead Boston by one point for the Northeast division lead), the next win is more important than any of the previous ones.
“I don’t think we have much of a choice, because of the fact that right now we’re playing yo-yo with these guys,” Julien said. “One day we’re ahead of them, the next day we’re behind them, and this is an opportunity here in these next two games, if we want to spread that gap a bit, it’s up to us to do the job. They’re a good team. We’ve seen them play some real good hockey.”