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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Jagr compares Bergeron to Hall of Fame ex-teammate

BOSTON -- If earning status as a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward wasn't enough of a compliment for Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, teammate Jaromir Jagr paid Bergeron another one after practice at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Bergeron, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks were announced Wednesday as finalists for the award.

"I think Ronnie Francis was the same way," Jagr said of Bergeron. "He wasn't very flashy. He scored a lot of goals but not the highlights goals. And he did everything perfect, especially defensively. The GMs and the coaches, they know. And it doesn't mean the media doesn't talk about him much. People who are close to hockey and understand hockey, they know how special he is. So it's all right."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 1:48 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Three Bruins blueliners missing from practice

BOSTON -- With a little more than 24 hours before the start of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the New York Rangers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), the Boston Bruins practiced without three of their regular defensemen Wednesday at TD Garden.

Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, who were scratched prior to Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, and Dennis Seidenberg, who played two shifts of the Bruins' dramatic win, all missed the session.

Coach Claude Julien said there was no update on any of the three veterans and said he might not know his lineup until pretty close to the start of Game 1 Thursday.

Even without three key members of their blue line, the Bruins had seven defensemen on the ice, including rookie Torey Krug, who was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

All of Boston's forwards were healthy and on the ice. Here's a look at the Bruins' forward lines and defense pairings from practice:

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:09 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins get final chance to close out Maple Leafs

BOSTON - For the eighth time in six seasons under coach Claude Julien, the Boston Bruins will play a Game 7 when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night in the final game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Bruins' record is 3-4 in their previous seven Stanley Cup Playoff series finales, but this year they're in a Game 7 because they failed to close out the Maple Leafs after taking a 3-1 series lead.


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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins vow to not lean on past road success

BOSTON -- At the conclusion of the regular season, the Boston Bruins had the second-best home record in the Eastern Conference, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bruins were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in road record.

So it's not a surprise that home-ice advantage has meant little to the teams in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals through five games. The Bruins, who lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS), won the two games played in Toronto. The Maple Leafs are 2-1 on Boston's home ice.

"I guess you often think that it [home ice] should work to your advantage, but somehow it hasn't in this series and it's really hard to explain why," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team's optional practice Saturday. "I think both teams are playing hard, and besides talking about [Game 5] game again, we've played extremely well in Toronto and they've played pretty well in our building, as well. I don't know what it is as a coach, not the players, but we hope that trend continues [Sunday]."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:39 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins defenseman Redden optimistic for Game 6

BOSTON -- Wade Redden waited four years to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so only something serious could force him to miss a game.

"Yeah, it was pretty much an obvious thing," the Boston Bruins defenseman said Saturday after he took part in an optional practice at TD Garden. "But like I said, it's turned the corner. So, you know, obviously games are coming quick, so that's a good sign."

Redden missed the Bruins' Game 5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday. His status for Game 6 Sunday in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS), where the Bruins will try for a second time to end the series, will be determined on the day of the game; Bruins coach Claude Julien classified Redden as day-to-day. Redden said he felt pretty good after skating Saturday.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:39 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Redden out, Bartkowski in for Bruins

BOSTON -- For the second time in the Boston Bruins' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins juggled their defensive alignment because of a lineup change.

Coach Claude Julien on Friday morning said defenseman Wade Redden was injured and he is not playing Game 5 of the team's Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday (CBC, RDS, NHLN-US). The Bruins lead the series 3-1 and are trying to advance to the next round with a victory.

Redden had a goal and an assist in Game 1, and is a plus-2 with two shots on goal in four games.

Matt Bartkowski was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Thursday and took Redden's place next to Adam McQuaid.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 1:01 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Van Riemsdyk has been here before vs. Bruins

BOSTON -- No one on the Toronto Maple Leafs knows more about the Boston Bruins' propensity for not closing out a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs prior to Game 7 than forward James van Riemsdyk.

Van Riemsdyk was part of the Philadelphia Flyers team that rallied from a 3-0 deficit in 2010 to beat the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The mentality the Flyers used while making history might apply now to the Maple Leafs, who trail the Bruins 3-1 in the teams' first-round series entering Game 5 Friday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NHLN-US).

In non-Game 7 situations where the Bruins have had a chance to put a team away under coach Claude Julien, the Bruins are 3-6.

"Again, it's just not looking at the grand scheme of things," van Riemsdyk said after his team's morning skate. "You just want to take it, kind of compartmentalize it and take it one game at a time and go from there. That's what we're going to have to do [in Game 5], is just look at the here and now. Today's game, treat it as one individual thing and then just go from there."

With Mark Fraser on the mend because of surgery to repair facial fractures, the Maple Leafs are expected to reinsert veteran John-Michael Liles in their lineup. Liles has been scratched since Game 1.

Here’s a look at the Maple Leafs’ projected lineup (click here for the Bruins' potential lineup):

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Horton says he's fine after Phaneuf hit in Game 4

BOSTON -- At first it looked like the Boston Bruins might've paid a steeper price than they wanted to in order to win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

However, Bruins forward Nathan Horton was able to skate off the ice under his own power while David Krejci beat the Maple Leafs with a goal in overtime that put the Bruins ahead in the best-of-7 series, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on Friday at TD Garden (7 p.m. NHLN-US, CBC, RDS).

Horton was as jovial as usual Thursday morning after reporting to the Garden for an optional practice he and the rest of the Bruins' regulars passed on.

"I feel good," Horton said. "It's obviously a big win for us. I think everybody feels good today. But we know the job's not done. The last one's always the hardest."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:03 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins hope struggling Jagr can boost offense

BOSTON – In the 11 regular-season games with the Boston Bruins after he was traded from the Dallas Stars, Jaromir Jagr accumulated nine points, including two goals.

So far, through two games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jagr is without a point and has only four shots on net and a minus-2 rating tarnishing his resume.

With the series, tied at one game each, now shifting to Toronto for Game 3 and 4, the Bruins need Jagr -- and his current linemates, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly -- to produce. That production would be easier to come by if Jagr was at top of his game. After practice Sunday at TD Garden, coach Claude Julien mentioned the possibility Jagr still isn't totally healthy after a flu bug that cost him the final two games of the regular season.

"I think there's a lot of things that come into play here. No. 1, he came, as you know, at the Trade Deadline, he missed the last couple of games, he's never had the same linemates," said Julien, whose team will play Game 3 on Monday night. "To his defense, it's important to have some cohesion with your linemates and stuff like that, and our first two lines have been pretty, I guess, been together for a long time. They're playing well, they're generating stuff, so right now it's about trying to build some chemistry with some players and we keep trying to find players to complement him a little bit.
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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 12:44 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Hamilton likely to replace suspended Ference

BOSTON -- Despite the Boston Bruins' best efforts to keep everything secret, they can't hide the fact Andrew Ference will not play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at TD Garden.

Ference was suspended by the NHL for one game Thursday for a hit during the Bruins' 4-1 win in Game 1 (7 pm. ET, CBC, RDS, CNBC, NESN).

Regardless who goes into Ference's lineup spot -- and all indications are it'll be rookie Dougie Hamilton -- the other five defensemen will have to adjust, and some might see their minutes increased.

Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, Boston's shutdown pair in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, will probably be separated. It appears Seidenberg will shift back to his strong side, the left, and play with right-shooting Johnny Boychuk. Adam McQuaid will stay on the right side and be paired with Chara.

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Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh