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Ready for the Leafs

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- The Bruins had the morning off before they head to Toronto for Friday afternoon's autograph session at the Hockey Hall of Fame and, more importantly, Saturday night's showdown with the first place Maple Leafs.

And as the B's prepared for the game during Thursday's practice, the magnitude of the contest was lost on nobody in the Black & Gold locker room.

"I think our two teams have become good rivals," said Toronto area native Tyler Seguin. "I mean, last year I always seemed to be good games.

"Obviously they're a hot team right now so we got to be ready for them on Saturday."

"Yeah, they're playing great hockey right now," said fellow forward Brad Marchand. "They're definitely a good matchup for us right now.

"We want to find a way to get a roll going here and playing against teams that are hot, and playing good hockey is big for us.

"And we have to make sure we're ready and focused for each game and everyone should be able to step up."

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien expects the Leafs to use their speed and firepower from the drop of the first puck.

"They're high tempo, [and play] a very open type of game," said Julien. "We've just got to be at our best and again, I think if we do that properly, the offense will come from that as you saw the other night, that's how we feed our offense is from good defense.

"So if they're going to open up, then we got to make sure we're ready to play good defense."

That's particularly so against former Bruins forward Phil Kessel, who has started the season on fire.

"He shoots the puck and he's finding ways to get shots off every game," said Julien. "He has a lot of opportunities.

"So he's just becoming a better player with age and that's what you're seeing from Phil.

"He's off to a good start."

Just like the Leafs.

"They're playing extremely well this year," said forward Gregory Campbell, another Ontario native. "The rivalry, who knows, might have grown since the trade [of Kessel to Toronto].

"Their top two lines are flying right now and they're pretty dangerous. So you know, it's a team that we have to respect, but also realize how we were successful the last time we played them and hopefully come up with the same effort."

Despite Toronto's penchant for run and gun hockey, Julien wants the B's to stick with their own system of defensive responsibility.

"That's been our bread and butter," said Julien. "Whenever we've respected that part of our game...things fall into place and everybody's on the same page and you end up with good results.

"So I think it's one thing that we did better last game, and it certainly showed, and that's what we need to carry over to the next game."
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