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Bruins vs Maple Leafs

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 Monday, 05.13.2013 / 3:58 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins reward restaurant workers for late-night service

There will be at least three Toronto Maple Leafs fans packed inside TD Garden when the Boston Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7 p.m. ET, CBNC, CBC, RDS).

And they'll be there courtesy of the Bruins.

A mechanical problem with the team's plane meant the Bruins had to stay overnight in Toronto after losing Game 6 on Sunday. Tired and hungry, the team wanted a bite to eat before returning to the hotel, so a member of the organization called the Canyon Creek Chophouse in Mississauga, near the hotel the Bruins were booked into.

Restaurant service manager Lauren Grenier said she received the call at 11 p.m., when she and the staff was closing, asking if they could accommodate a party of about 50.

"I had literally closed the till for my bartender and we were closing in five minutes and I get this phone call," Grenier told the (Toronto) Globe and Mail. "And they’re like, hey, there's about 50 of us coming down to your restaurant, it's the Boston Bruins. And I'm like, sure it is. I didn't believe them because we're always playing pranks on each other here at work late at night."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 3:57 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Report: Bozak not traveling with Leafs, out for Game 7

Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak didn't travel with the team to Boston for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Monday against the Bruins (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS), according to a report by Darren Dreger.

Bozak scored a goal in Game 5 for the Maple Leafs, but was a late scratch for Game 6 with an undisclosed injury.

Toronto went on to win without him and extend the series to a seventh game, and they'll have to do without his services again Monday at TD Garden.

Bozak had 12 goals and 28 points in 46 games during the regular season.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 2:50 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins without Ference for Game 6

Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is day-to-day and did not travel with the team for Game 6 of its Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night at Air Canada Center.

Ference played all 48 regular-season games this season for the Bruins, posting four goals and 13 points, but will miss his second game of this series. He was also out in Game 2 due to a suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski in the series opener.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 12:45 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins, Leafs finding it hard to maintain momentum

TORONTO -- Momentum can be a great thing for a hockey team this time of year. That is, if you get it and can maintain it.

Last season the Los Angeles Kings barely made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but got on a roll in the postseason and rode a wave all the way to their first championship.

Thus far in the first-round Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, neither team has been able to carry momentum from one game into the next. The Bruins won the series opener, but then lost Game 2 at home. The Maple Leafs, in their first playoff appearance in nine years, received huge support from their adoring fans, but were unable to translate that into victory at home, dropping both Games 3 and 4.

Then, with the possibility of concluding the series in five games, the Bruins lost a second straight home game and here we are with Game 6 in Toronto on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS).


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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs staying on the road at home

TORONTO -- Is it really Home, Sweet Home?

Well, so far the Toronto Maple Leafs have played two home games in the playoffs -- their first two since 2004 -- and have yet to win. Conversely, the Maple Leafs are 2-1 on the road in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So the Maple Leafs are treating Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS) like a road game.

"We have offered our players the opportunity to stay in the hotel the night before and the afternoon of games," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We think that's something that has been a choice, but as for Sunday afternoon, it will not be an option. We will check into a hotel."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Reimer's heroics big part of Maple Leafs' win

TORONTO -- Two nights earlier, at the most critical time in the game, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer let a shot slip past him that looked quite stoppable.

It was in overtime and it meant his team lost the game and fell into a 3-1 series deficit against the Boston Bruins in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Much of the focus after the game was on Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, who had pinched on the play, allowing the Bruins to break away on an odd-man rush. Had Reimer made the save, all would have been well and Phaneuf's indiscretion would have been forgotten.

Fast forward to Friday, and again at a critical time -- this time in a scoreless game -- Reimer produced a game-saving stop, robbing Boston's Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center cut in front of the net, causing Reimer to do the splits. With his leg stretched to the maximum, Reimer stopped the puck with the toe of his skate.

For Reimer, the spectacular save was all in a day's work.

"Honestly, it's one of those saves that you don't plan," Reimer said. "It just kind of happens. Obviously it's probably mostly just luck. He had a little bit of room on the side, but it went off my toe. It's just a lucky save and hopefully there's a few more of those left."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

MacArthur making the most of his opportunities

TORONTO -- Veteran Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Clarke MacArthur is learning about the highs and lows of participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Having never been in the playoffs before in his seven-season career, MacArthur suffered the indignity of being a healthy scratch in Games 2 and 3 of Toronto's best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins, but now has goals in back-to-back games as the Maple Leafs won 2-1 Friday in Boston to remain alive.

Game 6 is Sunday in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS).

"I just wanted to stay ready in practice," MacArthur said. "You never know when you're going to get the chance to play again. It was nice to get back in and help the team."

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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 Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs had their chances in Game 4 overtime

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs had more than their share of scoring chances in overtime in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins before David Krejci ended the game with his third goal of the night.

On one play, the player the Maple Leafs count on most for goals -- right wing Phil Kessel -- raced into the Boston zone on the right side and had a step on defender Zdeno Chara. Kessel easily could have continued hard to the net and either created his own scoring chance or possibly drawn a penalty, but instead he elected to hit the brakes and fire a snap shot that was easily stopped by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.

Would Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle have liked to have seen Kessel drive hard to the net with the puck?

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 11:54 AM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Fraser texts teammates, recovering after surgery

TORONTO -- A slap shot to the head followed by surgery wasn't enough to keep Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser from texting his teammates.

The hard-nosed blueliner was drilled in the head by a shot from Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic at 7:49 of the third period of Game 4 of Toronto's opening round Stanley Cup Playoff series and immediately departed for the dressing room then the hospital, leaving a pool of blood behind on the ice.

"Mark Fraser is resting at home and he had surgery last night to repair a fracture between the eyes and cranial area," coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday morning at the team's practice facility. "I don't know if you'd call it a fractured skull; I think that's a little too severe. He was texting and in conversation with his teammates this morning before 8 a.m. He's now back on the road to recovery."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 12:15 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs' trio using AHL experience for help

TORONTO -- A year ago they were immersed in the American Hockey League playoffs with the Toronto Marlies, well on their way to the Calder Cup final.

Although the Marlies were swept in the final by the Norfolk Admirals, forwards Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin, along with defenseman Jake Gardiner, all gained valuable playoff experience. Now they are three players the Toronto Maple Leafs hope can help catapult them into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Maple Leafs trail the Boston Bruins 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, with Game 4 here Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 2:36 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Thornton prepared to do whatever it takes in playoffs

TORONTO -- If you weren't paying close attention, you might have thought it was Jaromir Jagr carrying the puck into the Toronto Maple Leafs' zone and driving hard to the net in search of a goal.

It wasn't. Nope, it was Boston Bruins fourth-line right wing Shawn Thornton, a player who normally makes his exclamation point with his fists. The right-shooting Oshawa native who grew up a stone's throw away from Toronto, accepted a pass at the Maple Leafs blue line, cruised in along the left boards and made a beeline for the net, causing goaltender James Reimer to make a splits save.

Didn't know you had it in you, Shawn.

"You act surprised," Thornton said. "You don't have the NHL Network? You didn't see my penalty shot goal last year?"


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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Kessel has Toronto fans singing his praise

TORONTO -- Phil Kessel is used to hearing chants of, "Thank you, Kessel! … Thank you, Kessel!"

But that's when his Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston, where he got his start in the NHL. Kessel joined Toronto in a trade Sept. 18, 2009, and the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup less than two years later. Bruins fans love to jeer the Maple Leafs' top goal-scoring threat.

So it was with pure delight that Kessel heard the same chant, "Thank you, Kessel! … Thank you, Kessel!" from the rabid fans in Toronto during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday. It was their way of showing appreciation for his offensive exploits.

"The fans here have always been great to me," Kessel said. "I love playing in this city. We have great fans and they supported us well Monday night."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 2:24 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs experienced rough night in faceoff circle

TORONTO -- When it comes to winning faceoffs in the NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle insists, "If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying."

That being the case, Toronto's No. 1 center, Tyler Bozak, must have been trying really, really hard Monday night in the Maple Leafs' 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Air Canada Centre. Bozak, who is the Maple Leafs' best faceoff man, was repeatedly kicked out of the circle by linesmen Shane Heyer and Don Henderson in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

At the end of the night Bozak won 12 of his 29 faceoffs, and the Bruins as a team won 60 percent of the draws.

"It's tough in the game, but it's over now," Bozak said. "Both sides were cheating quite a bit in the circle, and I was getting caught a lot more than they were. There's nothing you can do about it now."

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Despite win, Maple Leafs want to keep improving

TORONTO -- Good is never quite good enough in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

You might think the Toronto Maple Leafs would be sitting on easy street having defeated the Boston Bruins on Saturday to even their best-of-7 opening round series 1-1, but to hear coach Randy Carlyle speak, you'd think they took a pounding.

"Our message as a coaching staff is we're going to have to be better than we were because we know the Bruins are going to be better," Carlyle said. "Our expectation is we're going to have to play the game to a higher level. There are mistakes we are making with the puck as far as turnovers are concerned that are correctable. We need to cut those mistakes down. I don't think any team can afford some of the turnovers and giveaways that we have committed and expect to continue to have success."


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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:58 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle working hard to create favorable line matchups

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle places a great deal of emphasis on matching lines and his ability to get his top goal-scorer, Phil Kessel, away from Boston's top defender, Zdeno Chara, played a huge role in Toronto winning Game 2.

On Saturday night, Kessel was able to play four minutes of hockey in 5-on-5 situations without Chara on the ice, thanks the maneuverings of his coach.

Now, Carlyle will have the last change in Games 3 and 4 in Toronto.

"It's different, but you try to have the people on the ice that match up well against the opposition," Carlyle said. "The one thing you can't do is get caught in the trap of not getting your players out on the ice enough. In that respect, you do have an advantage [at home], but if they decide to, for instance, put Chara out for every defensive-zone faceoff, does that mean Phil Kessel doesn't get an offensive-zone faceoff?

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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:55 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Toronto ready to welcome NHL's playoff party

TORONTO – Get ready to rock and roll!

A victory in Boston by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference opening-round series has put this city in a party mood it hasn't felt since April 21, 2004. That was last day this city saw NHL playoff hockey when the Maple Leafs defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime.

Little did anyone know at the time nearly a decade would pass before the Maple Leafs would make it back to the postseason.

"I know everyone in Toronto is excited, eager and anxious," said Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, who set up Phil Kessel for the game-winning goal in Game 2 which evened the series at 1-1. "The players are excited, too, and we're going to use the fans as the seventh man and, hopefully, we don't disappoint them"

All season, coach Randy Carlyle has talked about trying to not be affected by white noise – the distractions that come from playing in a city where media coverage in at the highest level and fans have been starved for a winner for so long. Carlyle, a former Maple Leafs defenseman, said he is happy to be bringing playoff hockey back to Toronto.

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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 / 6:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Hamilton in for Bruins; Maple Leafs add Gardiner

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton is in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at TD Garden (7 p.m. CNBC, CBC).

Hamilton is replacing Andrew Ference, who received a one-game suspension by the NHL on Thursday for an illegal hit to the head on Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski during the Bruins' 4-1 win in Game 1.

Veteran forward Rich Peverley will replace Kaspars Daugavins and likely play on the Bruins' third line alongside Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr.

Hamilton, making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, had five goals and 16 points in 42 games as a 19-year-old but was scratched for six of the Bruins' last nine regular-season games, including the final three before the postseason, after the Bruins dealt for veteran Wade Redden at the NHL Trade Deadline. Hamilton and Redden will be paired together.

At the other end, Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner is making his first playoff appearance in place of injured Michael Kostka (broken finger), and veteran defender Ryan O'Byrne is replacing healthy scratch John Michael-Liles.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins know there's no reason to get overconfident

BOSTON -- Don't think the players and coaching staff of the Boston Bruins weren't paying attention to the events that transpired at Consol Energy Center on Friday when the New York Islanders rallied for a victory over the favored Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"You just have to look around the League and see what's going on, a lot of series are tied, 1-1," Julien said following his team's practice Saturday in preparation for Game 2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS). "There's nothing to get cocky about, or confident about. You just got to play every team the way you thought you would play that first one."

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the Maple Leafs, 1-0.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs' Gardiner ready to make playoff debut

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle promised some changes to his lineup for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins in an effort to even this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Saturday at TD Garden.

The most significant move might come on defense because Michael Kostka is out indefinitely after sustaining a broken finger in the second period of Game 1 on Wednesday. Carlyle told the media after his team's optional practice Saturday morning he is keeping all lineup changes internal and wouldn't reveal anything.

But there's a strong possibility 22-year-old Jake Gardiner could become the 11th player on the Maple Leafs roster to make his debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The more experienced Ryan O'Byrne could be called into duty.

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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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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Practice day is homecoming of sorts for van Riemsdyk

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk was all smiles when asked about making a return to Beantown and having the opportunity to practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University the past two days.

After all, van Riemsdyk's first collegiate goal for the University of New Hampshire came against Boston University before 6,037 fans at nearby Agganis Arena on Oct. 19, 2007. It was the first of 11 goals that season for van Riemsdyk, who also notched an assist in the contest.

"I've always had good memories playing here since I had my first college goal at the rink next door, so it's definitely a special place to be back at," van Riemsdyk said with a grin.

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle needs Maple Leafs' best players to step up

BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs were back on the ice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University on Friday in an attempt to formulate a better game plan for heading into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

While game-planning and strategy is all well and good, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said he knows his best players need to earn their keep if his team has any shot at defeating the Bruins in the best-of-7 series.

That means Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri, Dion Phaneuf and James Reimer need to step up their games, or the organization's first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in nine years will be a short one.

"In the playoffs you're tested daily, maybe shift-to-shift or period-to-period, and that's what it is," Carlyle said. "It's going out there and earning their space and delivering in pressure situations. That's what it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be an easy game. This game is tough … it's played with big men out there moving at a quick pace. You're playing for keeps now."

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:43 PM

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

Peverley hoping for chance to play Game 2

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- After he was a healthy scratch for one of 48 games in the regular season, Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverley didn't expect to be sat out of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Maybe the only perk of his situation was that Peverley got to watch the Bruins' 4-1 win Wednesday from a prime viewing area.

"We have a lot of depth on this team. And whatever which way it takes to win the game, that was, from watching that game, that was one of the best games we played all year," Peverley said after practice Friday here at Ristuccia Arena. "We were talking, the guys up there. That was fun to watch. So whatever it was, we did a great job, and let's just focus on winning."

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:29 PM

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

Julien won't commit to Ference's Game 2 replacement

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With the one-game suspension the NHL assessed to defenseman Andrew Ference on Thursday, the Boston Bruins know they will have to play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS) without the player who ranked fourth on the team in ice time during the regular season at 19:29 per game.

The Bruins returned to the ice for practice Friday here at Ristuccia Arena after taking a day off Thursday. While coach Claude Julien wouldn't commit to any set lineup the day before facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2, he split up his playoff shut-down pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg for the session. Chara skated with Adam McQuaid while Seidenberg worked with Ference's usual partner, Johnny Boychuk, during 5-on-5 drills.

"We mix and match a lot of times," Julien said. "So that's not an issue."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 4:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle praises people of Boston

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday he has nothing but great respect for all Bostonians, especially after witnessing how the community came together following the Boston Marathon bombings last month.

It was another telling sign of how coaches and players react when there are certainly more pressing issues in life.

"We're in Boston, they have great hockey fans," Carlyle said. "Boston just went through a very traumatic situation. You can see the pride is in this town and the Bruins are a part of that."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 3:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Kostka suffered broken finger in series opener

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle announced Thursday that defenseman Michael Kostka sustained a broken finger in the second period of Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and is out for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at TD Garden.

Additionally, defenseman Cody Franson (foot bruise) is day-to-day. Forward Phil Kessel, who was missing from Thursday's practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University, was taking a maintenance day.

Though Kessel likely will be in the lineup Saturday, it remains to be seen what changes Carlyle will make on defense with Kostka out and Franson hurting. Carlyle said he will insert either Ryan O'Byrne or Jake Gardiner, or have both players in the lineup.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:26 PM

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

Bruins know a lot more work needs to be done

BOSTON -- The core of the Boston Bruins has been together long enough to know Game 1 victories do not equal series triumphs.

Last season, the Bruins won Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals but lost the series in seven games. The Bruins lost Game 1 three times on their way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.

So although they didn't skate Thursday, the Bruins know the time off was for rest not reward for winning Game 1 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. As coach Claude Julien said, because there’s nothing celebrate yet.

Game 2 is Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"That's how it should be. You can't be looking back," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "You can look and learn from what happened, but you have to put it behind you and focus in on this next game because that's all you should be focusing in on. If you're looking back at what's passed or before, you're not worrying about what’s happening now."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:19 PM

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

Bruins' fourth line came up big in Game 1

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins always have counted on their fourth line, affectionately known as the "Merlot Line," for more than just physicality and energy.

While the trio of Gregory Campbell centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton has been as tough as they come since being put together during the 2010-11 season, all three players have shown flashes of skill worthy of playing above their spot on the depth chart.

Those skills were on display more during the 2012-13 season because Campbell and Paille were forced to play on other lines for stretches because of injuries. But reunited with Thornton for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the trio showed its offensive bent Wednesday in setting up the Bruins' first goal in their 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

"Obviously when me and [Campbell] were able to play with other players, it just gives you a lot more confidence to do what you have to do," Paille said Thursday. "And when we come back and play together, I think we just realize we can play when we need to and we want to continue to not only play our role and do the simple things, but we want to help out as much as we can like we do."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:21 PM

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

Bozak healthy, ready to return for Maple Leafs

BOSTON -- Just in time for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have center Tyler Bozak back in the lineup.

Bozak, who missed the last two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, will play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"We wouldn't put a player back into this situation unless he was 100-percent healthy," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's told us that he's 100-percent healthy, so we expect him to perform to his capabilities. I'm sure there's players on the Boston hockey club that have bumps and bruises that are not any different. So to sum it all up, he's going to play his role."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:00 PM

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

Jagr likely to line up with Kelly, Daugavins

BOSTON -- Line combinations from practice Tuesday and the Boston Bruins' morning skate Wednesday indicated that Kaspars Daugavins will skate on a line with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, making Rich Peverley a healthy scratch when the Bruins open the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

The return to health of forwards Nathan Horton (upper body) and Jagr (flu) has forced Bruins coach Claude Julien to make some difficult lineup decisions. While it's not surprising that late-season Swedish import Carl Soderberg probably will sit out, Julien's decision to sit Peverley, a veteran of the 2011 Cup championship team who skated in all but one regular-season game in 2012-13, is a bit of a shock.

The Bruins will need Kelly's line to produce if they hope to field a balanced, three-line offensive attack against a high-scoring Maple Leafs squad.

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness