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Bruins Look to Stay on a Roll in Toronto

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

TORONTO - The Bruins kick off a two-game road trip against divisional opponents starting on Wednesday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs, before heading to Montreal to play the Canadiens on Thursday.

The Black and Gold head into the matchup on a five-game win streak, while the Leafs have won two straight, putting up five goals in both wins over New York and Ottawa.

In October, the Bruins took the first meeting of the season between the two teams, posting a 4-1 win in their first game after Zdeno Chara was sidelined with his knee injury.

With players forced to step up to fill the void, the end result was a greater focus on playing a team game and respecting the system.

"Like we always say, it doesn't really matter who's in the lineup," Dennis Seidenberg said following the Bruins' optional pregame skate on Wednesday morning. "Zee is a big part, huge part of our team, but if everybody sticks to the system, communicates, we're doing fine and I think we just have to keep continuing to get better and just work hard."

"We play well defensively, and go from there."

"You know, we've got some good players on this team and you lose a few players here or there, you rely a lot on your team concept and your structure and you play as best you can," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.

The Bruins had a brief lapse after the win in Toronto, falling to the Minnesota Wild with a third period collapse at home their next time out, but have since gone on to win five straight and are 6-0-1 in their last seven games.

"At the same time, nobody's satisfied," said Seth Griffith. "Everybody wants to keep winning. It's never a fun thing to lose, so we have two big challenges here on the road with Toronto and Montreal, and we're expecting to [keep it going]."

While the Bruins have settled into their game without Chara, they've also seen David Krejci come in and out of the lineup dealing with a day-to-day undisclosed injury. Krejci did not travel with the team on the road trip.

"I don't think we've put all our focus on Zdeno Chara because there are some other guys who were injured that are important to our team - [Torey] Krug is one of them, obviously Krejci who we've missed for a long time," said Julien.

"So I don't think there's a real message to give your team [with Chara out], except that it's an opportunity for some, it's important that we respect our game plan even more so and go out there and battle hard, and I think that's what we've done."

"It seems like we haven't missed a beat really," said Griffith. "And I think it's just a lot of communication on the ice, knowing where each other are and just a better game plan and if we keep doing that, hopefully we can continue this roll."

The Bruins took their play to another level by executing their team game and operating as a five-man unit. It was something that they struggled with at the start of the season.

"We weren't doing that at all," said Milan Lucic. "And it just goes to show, no matter who you have in the lineup, if you don't respect your system and don't play the right way, things won't go your way."

Boston is going to need to continue to do that to find success, especially given the way the Leafs were defeated the last time the teams met. Those in blue called it an "embarrassing" loss on home ice, and Toronto Head Coach Randy Carlyle is using that as fuel for his team heading into Wednesday night.

"My worry's about our team," said Julien. "They're going to come out hard - we need to come out harder."

"We need to be ready for this game, just like any other game. So I don't think this is any more special of a game than any other. We play 82 every year, we've just got to be ready night in, night out for those kinds of games and the only thing you look at is that this is a divisional game, [and] realize how important it is."

"They've been playing real well as a of late and you saw the effort they had in Ottawa the other night, a real, real gutsy road win," Lucic said. "You always remember the times you don't play well at home and you kind of get embarrassed, so we expect them to come out hard and keep their game rolling."

"For us, I think it's the same kind of focus. We just want to focus on what we need to do in order to win and know that it's going to be a tough challenge here in Toronto."

The Bruins' starting goalie was not disclosed by Julien.

"Always the same old, same old. We leave those things up to game-time," Julien quipped.

Tuukka Rask was the only Bruin to stay off the ice and not take part in the team's optional pregame skate on Wednesday morning. In 14 outings against Toronto, he's 10-2-0 with a .943 save percentage and 1.64 goals-against average. He was between the pipes for the 4-1 win over the Leafs back on October 25.

Dougie Hamilton put up three points in that win, and continues to carry a heavy workload with Chara out.

"He's been a good soldier for us, he's got a great attitude and he's only going to get better," said Julien.

With Krejci not on the trip, Chris Kelly will likely continue filling his spot centering Lucic and Griffith.

"He helps me adjust - he's talking constantly on the bench, whether it's something I can do better or something I did well," said Griffith. "He's obviously one of those guys the coaches have a lot of trust in and they can put him on any line, and he's a great leader."

Kevan Miller made the road trip now that he's practicing with the team. He joined the team for the optional pregame skate, and stayed on with Assistant Coach Doug Jarvis afterwards for extra conditioning. He has not yet been cleared for contact.

Game time against the Leafs is set for 8:00 p.m. ET, with coverage on NBCSN for "Rivalry Night" and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Projected Lineup vs. Toronto 11/12

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Seth Griffith
Brad Marchand
- Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser
- Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille
- Gregory Campbell - Simon Gagne

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton
Joe Morrow
- Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug
- Zach Trotman*

Goalies: Tuukka Rask // Niklas Svedberg

*Pairings are based on Tuesday's practice, with Matt Bartkowski as the seventh defensemen.

Injured: David Krejci (undisclosed, day-to-day), Zdeno Chara (knee), Kevan Miller (shoulder)

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