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Game Journal: Game 74 - Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

1:40 PM: Tonight's officials will be Jean Hebert and Tom Kowal. Mark Shewchyk and Steve Miller will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight's game can watch on Hockey Night in Canada, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill preview tonight's game below.

1:00 PM:
Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Bruins...

Toronto Maple Leafs


18 Michalek - 43 Kadri - 40 Grabner

11 Hyman - 39 Nylander - 15 Parenteau

16 Brown - 42 Bozak - 28 Boyes

38 Greening - 23 Laich - 26 Smith


52 Marincin - 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner - 8 Carrick

29 Valiev - 20 Corrado


45 Bernier

31 Sparks

Boston Bruins


63 Marchand - 37 Bergeron - 20 Stempniak

39 Beleskey - 46 Krejci - 88 Pastrnak

21 Eriksson - 51 Spooner - 72 Vatrano

29 Ferraro - 55 Acciari - 11 Hayes


33 Chara - 86 Miller

45 Morrow - 44 Seidenberg

47 Krug - 54 McQuaid


40 Rask

50 Gustavsson

12:45 PM:
Here's what Connor Brown had to say ahead of Saturday's game vs. the Bruins...

Leafs TV

What's the transition to playing with Boyes going to be like?

Yeah, obviously it's going to be our first game together. I kind of know how he plays, just watching him. He's a smart, smart player so I'll just try to get open in the right spots and I'm sure he'll find me. A couple of ex-Erie Otters playing together so we're both a bit excited about that too.

What did you see from Bozak on Thursday that made things easier for your line?

His poise under pressure is huge. He's not panicking when he gets the puck, he's making the right play and not just once and a while, every time he makes the right play. Tonight, just try to get pucks back for him and continue to build upon last game and get more comfortable.

On his first NHL goal:

That felt awesome, that was an awesome night. Especially a meaningful goal like that to be your first one, late in the game. That was something I'll remember for a long time and so now it's just about playing hockey. There's nothing to worry about except being comfortable and playing the way I can.

On taking on Chara:

I did take it in that we'll be playing against him. Every game you seem to look across at one or two guys and it's pretty cool to be in the same league. Chara is a good hockey player and I better be moving my boots when I'm out there with him.

12:30 PM:
P-A Parenteau spoke to media on Saturday morning. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

How did you feel about your line's play on Thursday night?

I thought we played a pretty good game. Maybe the third period wasn't our best as a line but the rest of the lineup played really well. It's a team game, we're going to try to have a better hockey game tonight as a line. We've been talking about it and we're ready to go.

What's the biggest adjustment for the line right now?

You've got to defend a little better and you've got to compete. I think we got away from that for a few shifts last game and it's tough as young guys to bring it every day and bring it every shift and that's what we have to get better at as a line.

What have you seen from Hyman?

He's really good at [protecting the puck], he's probably one of the best I've seen to get on the forecheck. He's a horse, he's a really strong kid, he likes to get the puck, he likes to be first on the forecheck, it's good for me and Willy to try and wait and see where the puck is going to go on the forecheck and make plays behind him. He has been really good.

How important would it be to hit 20 goals this season?

Obviously I know I'm two shy of 20, I want to get there but at the same time I'm trying not to judge [how good] I play with points and goals. It would be nice to get to 20, that's for sure.

Do you recall a time you played a really good friend of yours early in your career?

I remember I played junior with Pierre-Marc Bouchard back in the day. When I made it to the NHL, playing against him was kind of special. He was one of my best friends. It's always special to play your first NHL game against someone you grew up with or played junior with... I tried [to hit him] but I couldn't. It's good, you just get out there, you compete. We're all pros, there's no friends on the ice when the puck is dropped.

12:15 PM:
Brad Boyes makes his return to the Leafs lineup tonight. Here's what he had to say ahead of the game...

Leafs TV

How are you feeling?

Good, I'm feeling good. Obviously good enough to go. It's been a while but I'm looking to get into it right away, try to get the legs going and get the pace down and work on the chemistry with my linemates.

How important is it for you to finish strong down the stretch?

It's important. Individually, as a team, we all want to play strong, we all want to do well, we all want to win. It starts with tonight but I think it's important for us to get a good feeling to make sure we continue with the way guys have been playing. All of us want to make sure that we're playing our games.

How much satisfaction would there be to put a dent in Boston's playoff hopes?

When you're in this position, a) you want to out there and win so that's kind of the first thing. At the same time if it -- you look at other guys who are in the playoffs and you're not, so you want to kind of do what you can to beat them. Whether it's a certain team, I think that right now our biggest mindset is play well, do the system and then, again, when we win we have fun.

What did you see from your line last game that you might be able to help?

Just chip in. I know Brownie's a creative guy, he works hard, he's got some speed. And then Tyler, we haven't really played together this year but on the power play, so I have a little bit of a feel for him. Same thing, he's a good player, has good vision, had a couple last game so he can score. It's really getting out there. You get the best feel when you play in the offensive zone and create chances. I think that's going to be the biggest thing for us.

On the Bruins:

They're always a tough team to play against. Patrice is one of the top players in the League so he's going to come out and play hard. You've got Chara, a big defenceman, he's going to be hard. They've always been a tough team to play against and I don't think that's going to change, especially with what they have on the line.

12:00 PM:
Here's what Mike Babcock had to say following Saturday's morning skate...

Leafs TV

Have you seen more consistency game-to-game in your young players?

I think it's like all players, some are really consistent and some aren't. It's just a matter of being a good pro and delivering intensity every single day at everything you do. In the end it leads to a good career. So that's, some guys have that right from the get-go and other guys are a work in progress so we'll just keep grinding away and try to help them help themselves.

What did you see from the Nylander line vs. Anaheim?

If you don't play without [the puck], you don't have it... I think any time you have a real good game then the next game is the measuring stick, not the last one. What have you done for me lately? And that's the way the League is. Today, you're going to see two really good centres -- we thought we'd have two really good centres the previous game and one missed the game -- so there's two really, really high-end centres, Spooner is a good player as well. There's good matchups for guys. All you've got to do is look at Bergeron. He does it every single day, he does it right. It's not based on skating, it's not based on toughness, well, mental toughness. It's based on competing every single day and good hockey sense and just a really good pro. Krejci is another guy who competes harder than people think. That's what drives good teams, you've got two centres and a real good D and solid goaltending. The rest will look after itself.

What have you seen in Marincin's game now that you didn't see earlier?

I didn't know he could skate good and I didn't know he was this good obviously and confidence was a problem for him. You want all your players to have confidence and as a parent you'd like your kids to have confidence. I think that's what you want in life. But, how do you get it? And then how do you earn it? How do you feel good about yourself so your skill comes out? Obviously with people moving on he got more opportunity and he's embraced it. He looks like a really good hockey player to me. He's a way better skater, he's got a way better stick, he's got great size, he's got good hockey sense. He looks like a real hockey player. So now, let's just keep doing it day after day. If you keep doing it day after day then that's what you are.

Is there a chance we see Froese again?

Yeah, we're hoping so obviously. It's unfortunate for him that with the injuries and the way things are that he doesn't have a chance to play for the Marlies. Obviously he's missed a huge chunk now but if he can get back, you'd like him to go into the summer knowing he can play because just like everybody else on our team, those spots are going to be hard to have. It would be good for him if he could get playing.

Has your first season gone how you thought it was going to go?

Yeah, I don't know if you know when you're thinking about it. You try to go through it with great detail if you really anticipate just what it's going to be like or know what it's going to be like. We're in a much better situation now probably than I could have even hoped so it's gone that way, which is good. And I'm talking about the setup moving ahead, we have some really good kids, the Marlies have done a really nice job with development. Hunts and his crew have done a nice job just watching players that aren't here. I think we have a nucleus there and we're set up to have a good draft. As you know, anybody that has covered the game for a long time, potential is a dirty word until you see it and you see it every day. What are these kids that are really good players going to be? Are they going to be high end players or are they just going to be someone that's a support guy. I don't know the answer to that.

Any update on Soshnikov?

Yeah, he's injured. He won't be back for a bit and obviously we wouldn't rush him back and the way he plays, he's got to be healthy to play.

On Komarov:

Leo's at least 10 days away they told me this morning so that's unfortunate for us. Obviously he's a very important guy on our team but we've got an opportunity to see other people.

Do you or the players use the spoiler role as motivation down the stretch?

To me it has nothing to do with them, it has to do with us and getting better. If you just got outside and you looked at it, I'm hoping Claude's team does good. I'm hoping Blash's team does good every night except when they play us.

What did you see out of Kadri that allowed him to get four points against Anaheim?

I just think Naz has been playing really, really well and very competitive and on a nightly basis is one of our best guys if not our best guy in the hardest matchups. He got himself close to the net and was able to score a couple. We scored on the power play. Lots of times when guys aren't scoring the power play is dried up and it's been dry around here for a while so that's got to make him feel good. A week ago when he played just as well and got no points I still appreciated that.

11:30 AM: The Maple Leafs wrap up a six-game homestand tonight when they host the Boston Bruins.

The Leafs are coming off a 6-5 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak both had a pair of goals, while Frank Corrado and Connor Brown each chipped in with their first goals of the season. Garret Sparks made 33 saves to earn the win. Jonathan Bernier is slated to get the start tonight against Boston.

The Bruins have lost five straight games and most recently dropped a 4-1 score to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Ryan Spooner had the lone Bruins goal while Tuukka Rask made 32 saves in the loss. He will start in Toronto on Saturday night.

Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock and the Leafs, as well as projected lineups.

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