Make no mistake about it, the Toronto Maple Leafs are Canada's team. There are other Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs, including the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets. But it's the Maple Leafs who have become the team that represents the hopes and dreams of a majority of Canadians, and that means this team enters the Stanley Cup playoffs under significant pressure.

It starts with the fact that the Maple Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. This is something that is apparently ingrained in every NHL fan — especially the Canadian variety. The Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens were once the dominant teams in the league, but that was a long time ago. Montreal's reign came to an end with their last Stanley Cup in 1993, and the Leafs have not raised the famous trophy since there were six teams in the NHL.

The Maple Leafs face a number of issues as they prepare for the Boston Bruins in the first round of the postseason, but the biggest problems comes from the pressure they face as they carry the heavy burden of expectations with a healthy dose of past failures.

Overcoming the Boston Bruins is a tough hill for Leafs to climb

For a good portion of the final month of the regular season it appeared that the Leafs would meet the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. However, when the Bruins lost three of their final four games, it allowed Florida to move into first place in the Atlantic Division and the Bruins fell to second place.

The Bruins would have had to play the Tampa Bay Lightning if they had held on to the top spot, and while there has been no talk of Boston tanking, facing the Leafs appears to be a far more favorable matchup.

The Bruins were 4-0 against the Leafs this season and head coach Jim Montgomery's team appeared to be at their best when they faced off against Toronto at home or on the road.

The Leafs certainly have an offense that can match up with any team in the league. Auston Matthews, Michael Nylander, Mitchell Marner and John Tavares are an explosive foursome and lead the way. Matthews is the league's pre-eminent goal scorer, having netted the incredible total of 69 goals this season. Nylander had 40 goals while Tavares had 28 and Marner added 26.

While the Leafs can fill up the net on offense, they are at a major disadvantage on the blue line and in goal. Boston is led by defensemen Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo on defense, while the goaltending due of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman is the best in the league.

Boston is a defensively proficient team that plays with a great deal of physicality, and that is a problem for the Leafs.

History vs. Bruins is not favorable

Toronto's long dry spell without a Stanley Cup is repeated like a mantra, and the team's history vs. the Bruins is only slightly less known. The Maple Leafs have not beaten the Bruins in the playoffs since 1959. That's a 65-year dry spell.

Perhaps the length of time since the Maple Leafs last victory doesn't tell a fair story. They have met six times since then and the Bruins victories are split between the Bobby Orr era Big, Bad Bruins and the team's more recent vintage. Orr's Bruins defeated the Leafs in 1969, '72 and '74, while the team that featured Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand beat the Leafs in 2013, '17 and '19.

The '69 series was a Boston sweep that featured 10-0 and 7-0 victories in the series first two games. All three of the most recent series were of the seven-game variety, with the 2013 Maple Leafs loss serving as the most painful.

In that series, the Leafs had a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 7, but the Bruins rallied to tie on two late goals with the goalie pulled and then won the game in overtime as Bergeron slammed home the winner.

Bruins depending on Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak

Boston's big advantage is on defense and in goal, but the Bruins have plenty of offensive talent. They are led by Pastrnak and Marchand, and they have a strong supporting cast led by Charlie Coyle, Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk.

If the Leafs have trouble with Pastrnak and Marchand or the supporting cast, this is likely to be a short series. Even if they can contain the duo, the Maple Leafs past history and defensive issues will serve as their fatal flaws in the postseason.