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Confident Marner ready to face Bergeron in matchup

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TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters checks in daily with news and notes on the Maple Leafs, who held an optional practice at the MasterCard Centre on Tuesday.

When the Maple Leafs played in Boston during the regular season – Nov. 10 and Dec. 8 – Zach Hyman, John Tavares and Mitch Marner saw the most minutes against the Bruins top line.

Marner is expecting that Game 1 in the playoffs will be no different.

"As a line we have a lot of confidence," Marner said. "We’ve lined up against the line we’re going to line up against on Thursday quite a bit ... and, for us, it’s just making sure we’re being smart and taking care of that puck, not doing anything crazy with it."

Boston's top trio posted big numbers against the Leafs in last year's playoffs. David Pastrnak led the way with five goals and eight assists while Brad Marchand had three goals and six assists. Patrice Bergeron, meanwhile, posted a goal and seven assists despite missing one game.

"Their big line is elite, elite, elite," said Leafs coach Mike Babcock, "and Bergeron just knows how to win. He's flat out won everything, he knows how to stop on defence, he knows how to free up those other two guys ... He's won, he's calm, he's smart, he knows how to play. You don't win by accident over and over and over again. You figure out the formula. He figured out the formula early. Now we have to."

All the damage by Boston's tremendous troika in the series last year came in the four Bruins wins and they failed to hit the scoresheet in any of Toronto's victories so containing them is, obviously, key. And Marner, who led Toronto with nine points in last year’s playoffs, seems ready for the challenge.

"He wants to be the best player in the series," Babcock observed of the 21-year-old.

"My first........