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Bruins vs Maple Leafs

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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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season