BOSTON, MA - It was not the way the Bruins wanted to head into Toronto. But now the series is tied at one game apiece with Boston heading on the road, after falling to the Leafs, 4-2, at TD Garden on Saturday night.
In the Bruins' 4-1 win over Toronto in Game One last Wednesday, they dictated the pace of the game, carried a strong forecheck, showed their physicality. The Bruins were able to cause their own good fortune by creating turnovers and breaking the puck out quickly.
In Boston's Game Two loss, the Leafs' adjusted, came out harder, and created more space. After a strong first period by Tuukka Rask and a 1-0 lead in the second thanks to Nathan Horton's second postseason goal in as many games, the Bruins' mismanagement in their own ended up costing them.
"They were better, there’s no doubt there, and they played a much better game than they did in Game One and we didn’t play quite as well as we did in the first game," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, of his take on Game Two.
"Certainly, they made some adjustments; we were prepared for those kinds of adjustments, but I think our execution wasn’t as good tonight."
The teams took different approaches to the quality time available, but with similar mindsets.
Boston, having had a tough end of six games in nine days to end the regular season, used Thursday for rest after their strong full-60 effort in Game One, before getting back to work Friday, and following that up with all Bruins on the ice for pregame skate Saturday morning at TD Garden.
Toronto, on the other hand, went right to work Thursday following their turnover-marred loss in which they simply couldn't match the intensity of the Bruins through the entire game, and continued that into their practice Friday at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena, before an optional skate Saturday morning.
Both teams have lineup adjustments to make. The Bruins are without Andrew Ference tonight, after he was suspended by the league for one game for an "illegal check to the head" on Mikhail Grabovski in Game One. Coach Julien said he has the option to place Dougie Hamilton or Matt Bartkowski (currently with Providence) on the back end.
BostonBruins.com - On Thursday evening, the NHL announced that Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference had been suspended for one game for "an illegal check to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski during Game One" on Wednesday.
With the veteran blueliner unavailable for Saturday's Game Two, Ference, for one, isn't too worried about his teammates stepping up in his absence.
"It's the decision that the league makes, as a player you deal with it, but as far as having a public opinion, I don't think it benefits any player to express any opinion about it," Ference said after taking part in Friday's practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
"Like anybody that's gone through a process, you have a discussion with the league and Peter [Chiarelli] and we have a chance to give our thoughts to them and I think that's probably as far as it goes in these kind of matters. You just accept it and go on to the next game."
"Guys will step right in and it will be no problem," he added, on the Bruins' back end not missing a beat. "It's hockey, if it's an injury or something like this, guys have to step up and do the job."
All Bruins hit the ice, including the 15 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders.
As most practices begin, goaltending coach Bob Essensa (along with Jay Pandolfo) started working with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, as the B's made their rounds of warm-up laps before the skate at 10:30 a.m.
Jaromir Jagr, a well-known work horse, was one of the first forwards on the ice. The Bruins began practice with a shoot-around, before spending time on breakouts and all facets of the game. Rich Peverley hit the ice in the grey jersey today, joining Jagr and Chris Kelly. He didn't skate in Game 1.
Kaspars Daugavins, who played the left wing in Wednesday's game, was wearing the green jersey, along with Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo.
BOSTON, MA - Following Wednesday night's 4-1 win over Toronto in Game 1, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was asked how the Bruins flipped the switch from the regular season to their pounding playoff hockey on display.
"You know, we have one in the back. We just flipped it over," laughed Seidenberg, pointing behind him.
"We really focused on our strengths and for whatever reason we were able to go out on the ice and execute the way we wanted to," he added, in reference to the B's being able to turn the corner and find their game. "That’s the first step. It’s the first game and now we have to carry that on into the second game."
On Thursday, the Black & Gold were off with no practice, though, select players and Head Coach Claude Julien were available to the media.
Game 1 may have been a commanding win for the B's, but they're not underestimating just how tough it is to get to win No. 4.
"For us, it’s just playing game by game and we don’t even talk about, I guess the question you just asked," said Coach Julien, when asked if there was something the B's bench boss told his players to build their confidence, or if it was left up to them.
BOSTON, MA - As David Krejci walked up to the postgame press conference podium following the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Wednesday night, he was outfitted in a military Army Rangers jacket.
The new Bruins' "Player of the Game" jacket, as it turns out, that rewards a member of the Black & Gold, while showing support for Army Rangers.
SOG: 1 | +/-: 2
It was fitting for Krejci, who recorded his 13th career multipoint playoff game, with a goal and two assists. His second-period goal that gave the B's a two-goal cushion marked the 21st of the postseason career.
BOSTON, MA - Eight current Boston Bruins have hometown ties to Toronto. But there's one in the spoked-B who the spotlight always seem to find.
Tyler Seguin, the native of Brampton, Ontario, grew up a Leafs fan like many of his teammates from the area. But when he was drafted by Boston in 2010, the pick a result of the trade that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs, the spotlight grew, and hasn't left the B's forward since.
And with the Eastern Conference quarterfinals set to begin between the two Original Six foes, the media storm around the two forwards hasn't halted.
"I mean the only time I’ll be hearing it is answering questions from you guys after practices or after games; I’m not really thinking about it at all," said Seguin Tuesday afternoon following the Bruins' practice at TD Garden. The B's forward has said he won't be focusing on any extra attention given to him.
"It’s two teams, not two players, so I’m looking forward to an exciting playoff series."
It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Game 1 for the Bruins is tonight, at TD Garden, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. You've heard it said before - these teams haven't met in the postseason since 1974. But make no mistake, Boston and Toronto know each other well. And though the Leafs are 1-8-1 in their last 10 against the Bruins, the cliche proves true - this is a new season.
Shots: - | +/-: -
"You got to turn the page to today and get excited for today, for the challenge. Everyday you wake up and watch the highlights from the other games, and you come in here, and everybody’s kind of got that extra buzz in the room. It’s a really good feeling; it’s fun."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins were back to practice Tuesday at TD Garden prior to Game 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
Nathan Horton joined the team on the ice for the first time, since being out day-to-day with an upper-body injury after leaving the game on April 20 against Pittsburgh. Horton was reunited with Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the line sporting white jerseys.
Though the strong forward has been skating on his own, he was certainly excited to get back with his teammates - and the timing couldn't be better.
"It's nice to be out there again," Horton said following practice. "Working hard and I feel pretty good out there."
"I've been skating on my own every day, for four or five days now. Feel great."
When Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was asked if Horton would be in the lineup Wednesday night, he said, "we’ll see how he is tomorrow before we make that decision."
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