The Boston Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in game 1 of the playoffs tonight as the B’s kick of their Stanley Cup Playoffs campaign.
This season the Bruins had a 1-3 record with 3 of the 4 games ending in regulation and the November 10th OT game being won by a Patrick Marleau goal.
Despite the less than ideal regular season record, this is playoffs which is a completely different game. Bruins HC Bruce Cassidy believes his team can compete and contend for a Stanley Cup.
Well, we’re in it to win it. I don’t think there’s any secret in that. I think all 16 teams would tell you that, but we’re focused on Game 1 and Toronto and getting through the first period and establishing the pace we want, because our starts haven’t been what we want them to be, and they’re an excellent first-period team. Now, throughout the course of the year, we’ve had decent numbers against Toronto in the first period. Our problems have been closing out games to a certain extent. We lost the last one up there late, and we lost one early up there – both games up there. We’re in a position to win, so if you’re going on recent history, we took care of that part. That’s our focus right now, Game 1. We feel we’re a Stanley Cup contender; that’s why we’re here, but we’ve got to get through Game 1 before we worry about anything else. That’s kind of been the predominant message.
Boston’s lead point getters in their four games against Toronto this season are Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Torey Krug with all three having 4 points. Brad Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak all had two goals apiece to lead the B’s vs Toronto. As for the assist leader against them during the regular season that honor goes to Krug who had 3 assists.
Despite only winning one of the four games against the Maple Leafs during the regular season the actual goal and shot differential weren’t that lopsided. Boston scored 10 goals during the regular season with the Maple Leafs scoring two more with 12. As for shots the Black and Gold outshot Toronto to the tune of 127 shots to 118.
This series should be close, compelling, and give Boston a real sense of what they are made of as it is a first real test for Bruce Cassidy and a lot of the younger players on the team.
Ryan Donato’s not going to play tonight. Very [difficult]. Played very well for us. He’s a guy that has shown he’s not gonna shy away from the moments. We talked about having young guys in there, it’s how they handle it. I think he would have handled it fine and will handle it fine when he gets in there. It’s just a decision we made best fit for our lineup right now. With Riley Nash, who played a lot of center ice minutes for us, we have to make sure that we’re protected, but we’ve got to make sure we’re solid down the middle in terms of what if something else happens, how can we make those in-game adjustments. That was part of it. Ryan has played center, but not much at the NHL level. A lot of those things go into it. At the end of the day, Jake’s healthy, a young winger; [Danton] Heinen, a left winger, has played well for us; Marchy [Brad Marchand]; [Tim] Schaller…so it’s a bit of a positional thing as well. You take all those things…same with Gio [Brian Gionta], he’s the anti-Ryan, been around a long time and gives you that solid veteran presence. At the end of the day, that’s the lineup we chose. Game 2, we’ll see how it plays out, hopefully it plays out very well. But you never know.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tonight’s Game 1 against the Maple Leafs can be viewed on NBC Sports and on NESN.