Krejci, who bounced between Providence and Boston as a second-year pro before making his playoff debut in 2008, has spent much of this season mentoring rookies like DeBrusk, Heinen, Anders Bjork (lost to season-ending shoulder surgery in February) and, most recently, Donato.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have enough firepower to pull off a first round upset, especially if Boston comes out cold on its home ice. They really believe that. The Bruins got the special teams edge in Game 1 all thanks to timely power-play goals and productive penalty kills. And it is too early to say this, but it looked as if the Bruins were kissing the Leafs goodbye. They won every puck battle, erased open spaces, tried to both start and finish checks. Mostly, the Leafs looked like accountants who had wandered into a biker bar at full brawl. Matters failed to improve in the third. Here's what we learned as the Black and Gold earned their first home playoff win since May 10, 2014, with their 5-1 triumph.
Backes snapped a 1-1 tie on the power play at 15:43 of the second when he chipped a loose puck up and over Andersen. Jake Gardiner hit a post.
Camped out near the crease, Backes corralled the puck off a feed from Krejci. The game calmed down at the end of the first, the start of the second. However, given that the Penguins and their superstar captain may be standing in the way of the Leafs if both teams get to the third round, there won't be any divided loyalties in the LeBlanc household. We're here for Game 1 and getting ready for (tonight). "We need to be a little better than we were in the next game".
Veteran Patrick Marleau's hooking call late in the middle frame gave the Bruins their second chance on the power play and they seized on the opportunity, sustaining pressure and trapping Toronto defenders Ron Hainsey and Roman Polak on the ice with the long change. "I think we're in a situation where we could put together some games here". The first came in the final minute of the second period on a dominant offensive-zone shift against the Leafs' fourth line that saw Brad Marchand set up David Pastrnak for a one-timer from the slot, then retrieve the rebound and set up Pastrnak again for the goal. David Pastrnak and Sean Kuraly also scored for the Bruins, while Boston's penalty-kill went a ideal 3-for-3 against a Toronto power-play unit ranked second in the National Hockey League (25 percent).
"It's kind of insane how things worked out", forward Brad Marchand said after practice Wednesday. "If we can spread out the workload and everybody can be important, I think that's a positive thing". Well, you have 48 hours, and here's your chance.
Now did Wingels deliver a hit to Mitch Marner, yes, but no hit deserves a response like Kadri's.
"It (helps) everyone. Any time you have a talent like that, it's nice to see him in practice today, and he looked really good", Bergeron said.
A suspension is at least possible.
And now, a defeat is nearly certain to be followed by a suspension of Nazem Kadri, who carelessly hit Tommy Wingels and was tossed for his indiscretion. "It was a lot closer than that". However, that could not have been further from reality.
"We feel we're a Stanley Cup contender; that's why we're here, but we've gotta get through Game 1 before we worry about anything else", Cassidy acknowledged.
"The potential [for us] is high, obviously, but it's one game, and you know so many things can happen in a playoff series".