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Maple Leafs captain Phaneuf expects better Game 2

by Mike G. Morreale

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said he believes now is not the time to hang your head after a Game 1 loss Wednesday to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

But the Maple Leafs captain knows his club must play a lot better if it intends to get even with the Bruins in their best-of-7 series on Saturday in Game 2 at TD Garden. The Bruins won almost every facet of the series opener, outshooting their opponent 40-20 on the way to a 4-1 victory before 17,565 rowdy fans.

"We've got a character group in here; we've had our setbacks during the year and we've responded well, so there's no time to hang your head," Phaneuf said. "You've got to get right back at it [Thursday] and [Friday] at practice and get ready for Saturday."

Phaneuf scoffed at the notion that playoff inexperience played a part in his team's meltdown after scoring the first goal of game. The Bruins connected for two goals late in the first before scoring two more in the second.

"I think that's easy to say that, if that's the way you want to break it down," he said. "I think that's an excuse, but we haven't been saying that in there. That was obviously brought up by [the media]. The bottom line is when you get out there, it's the same game. The intensity is amped up but these are huge games."

The Maple Leafs had 10 players making their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts: Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, Carl Gunnarsson, Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov, Michael Kostka, Nikolai Kulemin, Clarke MacArthur, Frazer McLaren and goalie James Reimer.

"We've got to refocus now … we're down 1-0 and need a better effort," Phaneuf said. "We have to get back to playing a full 60 [minutes], because they did that [on Wednesday] and we didn't."

Phaneuf was active much of the night. He finished with five hits, two blocked shots and one shot on goal in 23:16 of ice time. The Maple Leafs yielded nine turnovers and the Bruins had six takeaways.

"You've got to be smart with the puck," Phaneuf said. "Against a team like that, that likes to transition the puck, if you turn it over, they're going to make you pay. They thrive off of that kind of stuff. So we have to clean up our game. Like I said, it's one game and we've got to respond in the right way."

Phaneuf also knows his team must contain a lot better and limit Boston's quality scoring opportunities.

"We gave up too much," he said. "I thought [James Reimer] played really well, but you can't give up that many shots. We've got to tighten up things. There are a lot of things we need to be better at, and we're going to do that."


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