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Bruins Pregame Notebook vs. Toronto

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON – Tonight, the Boston Bruins (31-18-7) take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (23-17-6) in the team’s final game in TD Garden before they head out for a six-game road swing.

Coming into tonight’s match-up, the Bruins are 6-4-0 in their last ten home games, with an overall home record of 15-11-3.

Boston is coming off a rare two-game losing stretch after they fell in both games during last weekend’s home-and-home series with Detroit. 

The Black & Gold will look to get back on the winning track tonight in their fourth match-up of the season against Toronto.

Bruins vs. Buds
FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2010, file photo, Boston Bruins Tyler Seguin, right, and Toronto Maple Leafs' Francois Beauchemin battle for position during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto. The Maple Leafs traded Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, for right-winger Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2013. (AP Photo/The Can
Tonight, the Bruins and Maple Leafs will meet for the 636th time in their histories. Boston holds the advantage in wins with a 278-253-98-7 all-time record against Toronto, but the Leafs have the scoring edge 1,899-1,865.

This season the Bruins are 2-0-1 against Toronto, with their only loss coming in a shootout setback on Dec. 4 in Toronto. 

The last time the two teams played, on Jan. 3, Boston edged out a 2-1 win in Toronto. 

But the Bruins are right at home against their northern foes in TD Garden. The B’s have won their last six straight against the Maple Leafs in Boston. The streak is the Bruins second-longest current home winning streak against any opponent. 

The longest is the 7-0-0 streak they hold against Atlanta in their past seven games played in Boston. 

Boston has a all-time 174-94-47-4 record against Toronto is 317 home games. They also hold a 1,033-844 scoring edge. 

“They're a young team and they always play a high- energy type game and it seems like they are always full of...vinegar every time they play," Lucic said of the Maple Leafs. "And you know ever since Phil Kessel's been on the other side, it's always been an exciting game in here against Toronto.

“Like I said, we can't take a team like this lightly. They do have a lot of firepower up front and we definitely have to play our game, focus on ourselves and do what we need to do to make sure we come out with a win tonight."

Hamill, Caron Assigned
Boston Bruins right wing Jordan Caron, left, watches his shot, as New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur makes the save during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Since the Bruins 4-2 loss in Detroit on Sunday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced, on separate occasions, that both forwards Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron have been assigned to Providence.

“They got called up because they deserved to get called up,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said this morning. “I think we saw Zach [Hamill] make some good plays and seeing the ice well. He’s going to continue to work on his game.” 

Hamill was reassigned Sunday following the Bruins tilt with the Red Wings in Detroit. He was a healthy scratch in the game.

Hamill skated in three games for Boston since he was recalled from Providence on Feb. 4. He recorded his first point of the season, second of his career, with an assist in Boston’s 8-6 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 4. 

Through 44 games with the P-Bruins this season, Hamill has 3-25-28 totals, leading the team in assists. 

Caron, who was reassigned Monday, has played in 27 AHL games this season with 6-11-17 totals.

Caron began the season in Boston and got off to a rapid start as he has 3-4-7 totals in his now 23 NHL games played.

“Jordan…came in and played against one of the best teams in the league. And the pace was fast and when guys come up from the American League it usually takes them a few games to catch up to the pace of the NHL,” Julien said.

“I thought in regards to that he struggled a little bit at times. When he did have the puck, when he was against the wall, he was strong, he did a great job. So we saw a lot of good things from him.”

Caron scored his first NHL goal of the season with the B’s on Oct. 30 against the Ottawa Senators. 

“He’s going back there to work on the consistency of his game. To me, with him, it’s just, 'Keep working on your skating and make sure you keep it up to the level you want it to be in the NHL,'” said Julien.

The biggest transition for both of the forwards moving from the AHL to the NHL was the pace of the game. 

“We’re bringing guys from the American Hockey League and all of a sudden the pace in the league in the last ten games or so has really picked up. We know that the last stretch is one where the pace seems to pick up,” Julien said.

“The games have even more meaning, because you look at where you are in the standings. I think it’s not easy for them to come in here and pick up at the pace we’re at. Right there they have a challenge.”

Paille Returns
Boston Bruins left wing Daniel Paille (20) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes with Bruins center Gregory Campbell (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Boston won 3-2. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Boston Bruins forward Daniel Paille will return to the line-up tonight after serving the four-game suspension he received for a check he put on Dallas’ forward Raymond Sawada in the Bruins 6-3 victory over the Stars on Feb. 3.

News of the suspension, and subsequent fine, came the following day putting Paille in suit and tie on game nights for the Bruins past four contests.

“I mean it’s been a while since we’ve had four games in a week and a half so it definitely felt a little longer than it was, for sure. But I’m glad to be back tonight,” Paille said this morning. 

Although Paille and the Bruins felt the punishment was a little steep, the Bruins forward has taken a lesson from his four-game absence.

“Obviously, I’ll think about certain plays, but I’m going to try and stay physical, especially playing with the line I am on now, it’s the way I have to play,” he said. “I just have to be aware of certain plays and try not to extend the arm out.”

Julien agreed with Paille, hoping his veteran winger will remain physical, yet under control.

“You hope he’s aware of what he can’t do. And I think the one thing you want to make sure he does, and that’s part of our job, you have to go out and play with confidence,” Julien said.

“You can’t hold back, just be aware of what you can and can’t do. I think that’s all he has to do here.”

Despite his absence from the game-day roster, Paille has continued to skate with the team and has received support from his teammates in addition to family and friends. 

“I’ve had great support from a lot of people. Guys here in the room, too, they just told me to keep my head up, it’s just a week. And lots of people from back home, just support in that,” he said.

“It’s been an easy process for me. It was frustrating, obviously, to sit out for the week but I’m glad to be coming back today and playing tonight.”

Paille will return to the line-up today after missing Boston’s victory over Montreal on Dec. 9 and loses to the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings (twice) over the course of his suspension. 

“I arrived here bring and early, I was just ready to go and get myself prepared for tonight. I just can’t wait to get that puck drop.”

The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. on the Toronto vs. Boston rivalry that has been fueled by six tilts a season and trades between the two clubs.

“Toronto is a team right now that’s not in the playoffs, but they play hard every night,” Paille said.  “It’s something that we can’t take lightly and we lost two in a row so we should be focused tonight.”

---Hannah Becker
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