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Bruins vs Maple Leafs

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Bruins vs Maple Leafs - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Playoff battles nothing new to van Riemsdyk

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk will celebrate a birthday Saturday, and despite the fact he'll turn 24 years old, he's already experienced in the battles associated with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

A veteran of 40 playoff games, he knows the situation will get nastier before it gets any easier.

"That's the playoffs," van Riemsdyk said. "I mean, you are always going to get guys battling out there and guys finishing checks. I don't expect anything different [in Game 2] than what was out there [Wednesday]."

Boychuk's pregame prediction comes true with goal

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Pregame predictions aren't just for pundits.

Just ask Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk what he was chattering about with his teammates Wednesday before the his team's 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at TD Garden.

Johnny Boychuk
Defense - BOS
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 1
SOG: 4 | +/-: 1
"I think me and [Milan Lucic] were talking about it beforehand. He's like, 'You know? You always do really well in playoffs.' I'm like, 'Yeah, I know. I think I'm going to score tonight,'" Boychuk told on Thursday. "And I go out and score. I told [Jay Pandolfo] that before the game too. That's funny."

Boychuk put the final dagger in the Maple Leafs with a shot from the right point late in the second period that seemed to vanish and then reappear behind Toronto goaltender James Reimer. Boychuk will look to keep his offensive game going for the Bruins in Game 2 on Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

Krejci stars in Bruins' Game 1 victory

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Wearing the camouflage jacket that was presented to the Boston Bruins by the Army Rangers, and a Watertown Police Department hat, David Krejci personified the tragedy that struck Boston a little more than two weeks ago.

Over the 15 days since the Boston Marathon bombings, the Bruins have tried to serve as a distraction for this recovering city. With two wins in their last nine regular-season games, they hardly fit the bill.

But in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, Krejci found the form that made him the Bruins' No. 1 center the past several seasons, and he led Boston to victory.

Krejci scored a goal and assisted on two others in a 4-1 win at TD Garden. His vision and ability to slow down plays were on display in a performance that was 180 degrees from his play in his two previous first-round series with the Bruins.

Maple Leafs captain Phaneuf expects better Game 2

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said he believes now is not the time to hang your head after a Game 1 loss Wednesday to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

But the Maple Leafs captain knows his club must play a lot better if it intends to get even with the Bruins in their best-of-7 series on Saturday in Game 2 at TD Garden. The Bruins won almost every facet of the series opener, outshooting their opponent 40-20 on the way to a 4-1 victory before 17,565 rowdy fans.

"We've got a character group in here; we've had our setbacks during the year and we've responded well, so there's no time to hang your head," Phaneuf said. "You've got to get right back at it [Thursday] and [Friday] at practice and get ready for Saturday."

Teammates know quiet Kessel has a more open side

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Phil Kessel sure stirred the pot.

Now the hockey world waits to see if he can duck Zdeno Chara the way he ducked the Toronto media Monday.

Kessel, the Toronto Maple Leafs' leading scorer this season, was nowhere to be found when the media descended upon the Toronto dressing room following practice Monday. Typically Kessel avoids the media whenever possible, but considering the team was about to play its first Stanley Cup Playoff game in nine seasons, there was an expectation he'd make this one exception. He did not.

Then on Tuesday, after Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis assured the media Kessel would be available, the gifted right wing wandered into the dressing area while most of the media was at the other end of the MasterCard Centre conducting an interview with coach Randy Carlyle. This was not the way to make amends, and Kessel was brought back out to again meet with the scribes.

"What do you guys want now?" a perturbed Kessel said. He then added, "You guys don't talk to me that much during the year and you needed me yesterday?"

Well, yeah.

Lupul's maturation makes him a leader, star

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Had Joffrey Lupul not gone down with a season-ending shoulder injury last season, there is a very good chance he might have been the NHL's first team all-star left wing.

Joffrey Lupul
Left Wing - TOR
Goals: - | Assists: - | Pts: -
Shots: - | +/-: -
After all, at the time he separated his shoulder against the Boston Bruins on March 6, which caused him to miss the Toronto Maple Leafs' final 16 games, Lupul was tied for sixth in the NHL in scoring 67 points. In his absence, the Maple Leafs went 5-9-2, causing them to fall out of the race for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

When the NHL's all-star teams were announced, the New Jersey Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk -- who spent much of the season playing right wing -- was named the first team left wing, and the Phoenix Coyotes' Ray Whitney was named to the second team.

Poof! Lupul's chance at being named to the all-star team went up in smoke.

Seguin ready for spotlight against Kessel, Leafs

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- When the 2012-13 regular season ended and the final standings paired the Boston Bruins against the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series, the matchup made an impact on the Seguin family.

"I don't know if they were that happy," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said of his family's reaction. "My sisters weren't the happiest. They've got to go to school and deal with it all, unlike me. But I don't think they care too much. They're excited that we're in the playoffs, first of all, and they're excited that we're playing them."

Tyler Seguin
Center - BOS
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 32
SOG: 161 | +/-: 23
Seguin, from Brampton, Ontario, grew up rooting for the Maple Leafs. Now he'll try to make Toronto's first appearance in the playoffs since 2004 a short one. Game 1 of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series is Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, CNBC).

If history is any guide, Seguin should play a huge role in his current team's attempt to beat his childhood rooting interest.

In 16 regular-season games against the Maple Leafs, Seguin has 10 goals and 16 points. That's the most points the 21-year-old has accumulated against any opponent in his three-season NHL career. He admitted after practice Tuesday that games against the Maple Leafs are "something extra special," and he's not the only one who feels that way.

Rask ready for new chance at postseason glory

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

Tuukka Rask
Goalie - BOS
RECORD: 19-10-5
GAA: 2.00 | SVP: 0.929

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Tales of the Boston Bruins' run to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship will feature one goaltender.

Tim Thomas wrote his name into NHL history and Boston folklore with his heroic goaltending through four series, including three that went seven games.

But there were two goaltenders on that legendary Bruins squad. And Tuukka Rask had a front-row seat for all the amazing feats of his predecessor in the Bruins' No. 1 goaltender job.

"Playoffs are a fun time every year," Rask said. "I didn't play, but I was still a part of it. I learned something new, and I think it's just a great situation to have that challenge and that opportunity to make it a good run. That's what everybody tries to do, and that's our goal too. So it's exciting times."

Chiarelli: Bruins must 'step up our performance'

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli wasn't mincing words Monday while assessing his team's chances in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs if the Bruins don't improve their all-round game from what it produced in the second half of the regular season.

"Well, I'm not going to offer any excuses. We didn't perform to the level we were capable of performing on a number of different fronts," Chiarelli said during a conference call on his team's day off from the ice. "It was good that we had a strong start. We were able to finish where we finished. We obviously ... if I'm going to judge our team on the latter half of the year, I'm going to have to say that we're really going to have to step up our performance to have success in the playoffs."

The Bruins enter the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and will host the fifth-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of the conference quarterfinals Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC). But Boston controlled its own destiny in terms of the Northeast Division title and the second seed for most of the season's last couple weeks, and the Bruins failed to win their third straight division title.

Reimer's perseverance pays off with playoff spotlight

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

James Reimer
Goalie - TOR
RECORD: 19-8-5
GAA: 2.46 | SVP: 0.924
TORONTO – So you're sitting at your desk at work and every few minutes somebody walks past you and whispers, "They're going to replace you," or "You're not good enough."

You are working as hard as you can to be the best you can be, yet the taunts continue.

"They're looking for somebody better."

Welcome to James Reimer's world.

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