BOSTON, MA – Both the Bruins and Maple Leafs are turning the page. Neither team is interested in looking back at Game 1. Instead, both are looking ahead to Game 2 tonight at TD Garden - and they know that it will be a different game.
The Bruins know that Leafs will be coming out a determined group after their performance in the first game of the series. As a result, the Black & Gold realize they can’t afford to have a letdown.
“We know they’re going to come out a lot harder tonight and we have to be prepared for that,” said Brad Marchand following the B’s pregame skate. “We have to use our experience to our advantage and make sure we don’t let up at any point.
“We stay grounded, we don’t want to get too high, we don’t want to get too low. You just have to try and stay on an even keel and play your best all the time.”
“Improvement, definitely,” added Marchand’s linemate Tyler Seguin, when asked what he expects from the Maple Leafs tonight. “It was their first playoff game in a while, so you can’t lie, there’s going to be nerves. They got that all out of the way and they’re going to come out harder. And we’re going to come out harder, as well.”
Chris Kelly has 69 career games of playoff experience and knows what it takes to win a playoff series. He said even though the Bruins know Toronto will make changes, they must think only of what they have to do.
“At this point, we need to focus on ourselves,” said No. 23. “I think you can get wrapped up in thinking about what the opponent is going to do. At the end of the day, I think you need to focus on what your guys can do to have success and try to do that.
“I thought we played well last game but it's in the past. We need to come out and have another good outing.”
Kelly said keeping the pressure on the Maple Leafs is a must.
“[We have to] make it a difficult game. No easy plays. No gimmes. Make them work for everything they get,” explained the B’s alternate captain.
“I don't think it's any different than the regular season in that aspect. You don't want to give any freebies. They got a lot of talented players over there. You give them two or three second chances, they're going to capitalize. I think making them earn every play is big for us.”
On the flip side, the Leafs want to move forward as quickly possible from their Game 1 loss.
“I think we’ve talked enough about the last game, we’re on to the next one,” said Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle after his team’s morning skate Saturday at TD Garden.
“We’ve been a resilient group all year, I’m pretty sure we’ll be better than we were the other night. We have to be more in tune with the way the game has to be played. We’re beating on our group here pretty hard for our inability to do a lot of things.”
“You’re going to have those times where maybe things don’t go your way or you play a bad game,” added Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles. “But ultimately, it’s how you respond and how you come back in the games that follow.”
Carlyle Talks Thornton
Carlyle was the Head Coach of the Anaheim Ducks during their run to a Stanley Cup championship in 2007. He got a first-hand look at Shawn Thornton, who was a member of that team, filling a fourth line role akin to the one he has now with the Bruins.
“He’s a competitor, he’s a guy that knows his role,” said Carlyle. “He has that physical aspect, he has the toughness aspect, he’s got good hockey sense.”
The Leafs bench boss also pointed to the skill that Thornton has, something that was on display when No. 22 scored on a penalty shot against the Winnipeg Jets on January 10, 2012.
“I think I remember he got a penalty shot here a year or ago, which everybody in the building was a little bit surprised at the skill level that he had,” Carlyle said. “As a coach, when you see him day to day, and you see what kind of impact he makes for your hockey club, you admire it.
“He’s taken no shortcuts, he’s earned everything he’s got and it’s a tribute to the player.”
Seguin Remembers Playoff Debut
During his rookie season in 2011, the same year the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup, Seguin sat out the first 11 playoff games. Only 19 at the time, he didn’t make his postseason debut until Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With another 19-year-old, Dougie Hamilton, possibly getting his first taste of the postseason tonight, Seguin talked about what it was like to step into the playoffs at such a young age.
“I sat out for two rounds, but I sat up top and made sure I watched, learned a lot from watching the game at a different view,” said Seguin. “I took that and went in and was very excited. The first shift I stepped on, the crowd kind of gave me support and cheered. It was fun.”
Seguin went on to score a goal and register an assist in his first playoff game, then tallied two more goals and two assists in the very next game.