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Pregame Notebook vs. Toronto

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – The Boston Bruins enter tonight’s game with the Toronto Maple Leafs coming off a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

With the loss, the Bruins picked up a point, but lost a portion of their Northeast Division lead.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up a 3-2 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, gaining a point on Boston. The Canadiens followed that up with a 6-3 loss the New York Rangers last night.

The Bruins currently sit three points ahead of the Canadiens who are 7-3-0 in their previous ten games.

Boston also resides six points behind the Washington Capitals for second place in the Eastern Conference and the Philadelphia Flyers, who are tied for the conference lead. Philadelphia currently holds on to the top spot with three games in hand over Washington.

The Bruins also have three games in hand on the Caps.

The B’s will look to gain momentum with tonight’s tilt against Toronto, the fourth and final game in the Bruins last multiple-game road trip of the season.

Boston is 5-2-3 in its previous ten games and has a 7-2-1 record in its last ten road games. 

The Maple Leafs enter tonight’s game in 11th place and are just four points out of playoff contention.

“There’s never going to be an easy game this time of year, it’s either teams that are fighting for playoff spots, teams that are kind of fighting for position at the top of the division or the conference,” said Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell.

“At this time of year, every team is playing their best.”

Krejci Continues Roll
When he scored his 12th goal of the season in the second period of Thursday night’s loss to Nashville, Boston forward David Krejci also extended his season-long point streak to seven games.

Nashville Predators center David Legwand (11) tries to poke the puck away from Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46), of the Czech Republic, in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Krejci has 3-6-9 totals over that span.

Through 63 games this season, Krejci has a 12-44-56 scoring line and a plus-22 rating.

The 24-year-old’s goal in Thursday night’s game was assisted by linemates Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic.

Since Krejci regained the pivot spot on the B’s No. 1 line, after center Marc Savard was sidelined, for the remainder of the season with a concussion following the Bruins’ Jan. 22 tilt with Colorado, the trio has become three of the producers for Boston.

Krejci leads the Bruins with 56 points and Lucic sits in second with 53. Nathan Horton is fourth in team scoring with 46 points.

Also, during Krejci’s current scoring streak, which began March 3, Lucic had a five game scoring streak of his own stretching from March 3 to March 11. Lucic had 2-4-6 totals in that span.

Since the beginning on Krejci’s streak, the Black & Gold’s top line has a combined 7-14-21 scoring line with three multiple-point games.

Kaberle Returns
For the first time since being traded to the Boston Bruins, Tomas Kaberle will return to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, the building he called home ice for the first 11 plus years of his NHL career.

After being drafted by Toronto in the eighth round (204th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, the 33-year-old defensemen played his first 878 career games in a Maple Leafs uniform before being traded to the Bruins on Feb. 18.

“I found out after practice today. My reaction was mixed feelings. Obviously, you know here 13 years and playing for the Leafs.  It’s sad to leave but at the same time I'm happy to go to Boston,” Kaberle said at the time of the trade. 

“[They're] 'Original Six. It’s a really good team, good organization. Hopefully I have a chance to play in the playoffs.” 

In his 11 plus seasons in Toronto,

Kaberle collected 83-437-520 totals to join a plus-25 rating and 31 penalty minutes.

Heralded as a puck moving defenseman, the Bruins’ largely acquired the Rakovnik, Czech Republic native to help the B’s transition game and improve the power play.

“We felt that we needed a player like Tomas [Kaberle] -- a player with good vision, a good skater who can quarterback a power play, and has played many many games in the league,” said Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli at an afternoon press conference in TD Garden following the announcement of the trade.

In his 12 games with Boston thus far, the 6-foot-1, 214-pound blueliner has 0-3-3 totals, a plus-5 rating and two penalty minutes. 

Kaberle will have an opportunity to expand his scoring line in the remaining 12 games of Boston’s regular season and into the playoffs.

Kaberle appeared in the playoffs in his first six seasons in Toronto, but the Maple Leafs failed to make the post-season the following five seasons.

In 77 career playoff games, Kaberle has a 6-22-28 scoring line and a plus-8 rating.

Soupy Talks Hockey
Yesterday, the Boston Bruins had an off day in Toronto, but center Gregory Campbell took the time to sit down with bostonbruinsTV to talk about the prospect of playing post-season hockey in Boston. 

The former Florida Panther is in his first season with Boston after being acquired in a trade that sent he and Horton to Boston in exchange for defensemen Dennis Wideman and draft picks.

“This is hockey to me, this is where I want to play this is where I want to be at this time of year,” Campbell said of his first season in Boston.

“Going into the playoffs, and knowing that we are going to the playoffs and we have as good a chance as anybody. Really that’s why you play.

“When you come into this league it’s more about playing in the NHL and that’s exciting but as you go further into your career, it’s about winning and the chances get slimmer and slimmer and I think you have to embrace the chances when they’re there.”

Campbell who centers the Bruins fourth line with consistency, energy and the occasional fight, feels Boston has a good opportunity to make a deep playoff run.

“This year we have a really good chance of doing something special and it’s tough to play games at this time of year that don’t mean anything and obviously for us the games mean something, as they will going forward into the spring,” Campbell continued. 

“So it’s an opportunity that I’m really looking forward to and hopefully I can contribute the way I expect myself to and the way they expect me to.”

Campbell has 10-12-22 totals through the first 68 games of the season, and says that despite his role as an energy player, he works hard to continue to produce offensively.

“I’m extremely hard on myself and I know [Shawn Thornton] and [Daniel Paille] are as well. For us it’s more a matter of contributing, it’s tough for those guys on the first and second line to produce every night, game in and game out. And it takes a lot of pressure off those guys if we can chip in offensively,” Campbell said.

“And not only that, just be a line that creates momentum and really creates chances and it’s a line that the coaching staff has no problem putting out at any time in the game against any line.

“Because when the playoff starts, it’s often the guys that you don’t expect that come in and have those timely goals, or shift or whatever that turn the tide of the game, and I think that’s what we expect from ourselves going into the playoffs.”

Player Profile: Patrice Bergeron
When Patrice Bergeron netted his 22nd goal of the season in the third period of last night’s 4-3 loss to Nashville, a weight was surely lifted from the Bruins’ center’s shoulders.

The tally marked Bergeron’s first point in eight games.

“Bergy, hopefully gets a lot of weight off his shoulders scoring a goal and getting back on the score sheet. Hopefully we can build on that kind of stuff here moving forward,” Boston Bruins Head Coach Julien said after the game.

The forward is enjoying his best statistical season since the 2005-06 season when he collected 31-42-73 totals in 81 games.

Through 69 games this season, the 25-year-old has a 22-19-51 scoring line to go along with a plus-17 rating and 22 penalty minutes.

A former second round draft pick (45th overall) for Boston in 2003, Bergeron has been a steady force for the Bruins this season.

Bergeron, who has spent his entire career in Boston, has been the pivot man on the Bruins’ second line with Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand for the three months.

Previously Bergeron centered the third line, but rotated up a spot when the Bruins’ first-line center, Marc Savard was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a concussion.

The Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec native has 13 multiple-point games this season, including his first career hat trick acquired on Jan. 11 against Ottawa in TD Garden.

In addition to the hat trick, Bergeron has reached multiple other milestones in his seventh NHL season.

On Oct. 28, Bergeron recorded his 100th NHL goal. He reached his 400th NHL game and 300th NHL points on Dec. 2 and Dec. 28 respectively. Bergeron also recorded his 200th assist on Jan. 10 against Pittsburgh.

But it’s the playoffs where the Bruins are looking for Bergeron’s dependable two-way performance.

In 31 career playoff games, Bergeron has 5-15-20 totals and a plus-12 rating.
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