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Game Journal: Game 49 – Maple Leafs vs. Bruins

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

4:30 PM: Tonight’s officials are Francois St-Laurent and Tom Kowal. Matt MacPheron and Michel Cormier will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in can watch on TSN 4, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Joe Bowen get you set for tonight’s game with the Maple Leafs Game Preview.

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4:00 PM: Here are tonight’s projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Bruins.
Toronto Maple Leafs

24 Holland – 43 Kadri – 47 Komarov
40 Grabner – 42 Bozak – 15 Parenteau
23 Matthias – 16 Spaling – 26 Winnik
19 Lupul – 56 Froese – 25 Clune

2 Hunwick – 44 Rielly
3 Phaneuf – 20 Corrado
51 Gardiner – 46 Polak

34 Reimer
45 Bernier

Boston Bruins

63 Marchand – 37 Bergeron – 14 Connolly
21 Eriksson – 46 Krejci – 88 Pastrnak
39 Beleskey – 51 Spooner – 11 Hayes
36 Rinaldo – 25 Talbot – 29 Ferraro

33 Chara – 62 Trotman
44 Seidenberg – 48 C. Miller
47 Krug – 86 K. Miller

40 Rask
70 Subban

2:30 PM: Here’s what Nick Spaling had to say ahead of tonight’s game…

Leafs TV

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What makes Boston so proficient on the power play?

Obviously they have skill like every power play but I think they work hard. They battle to get the puck back and they shoot it, they’ve got some guys with some good shots that are getting pucks through and a big thing is going to have to be taking that shot away and getting in lanes when they do shoot it. It’s going to be a good challenge tonight.

On the difficulty of maintaining balance between pressure down low and at the points:

They’ve got big shots and we want to take that away as best as we can. Their next option is they can go down low and they’ve got guys down there who are great around the net so we’ve got to make sure we’re keeping the front clear for the goalie tonight and doing our best job there.

How can forwards help negate Boston’s forecheck and improve zone exits?

We need a lot of talk. These guys have a good forecheck and they work hard so we’ve got to make sure we’re getting open and talking to our D, letting them know the best play with the puck to get it out of our zone.

How was the All-Star break for you to heal?

It was good. It was nice to have that time to take some time off and relax and get ready for the second half here.

2:00 PM: James Reimer gets the start for the Maple Leafs in Boston on Tuesday. In 15 career games against the Bruins, Reimer is 5-6-3 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. Here’s what he had to say after the morning skate…

Leafs TV

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On putting 200 career games into perspective:

It has been a good run so far. I remember that first game, I don’t know if I came in with six or eight or 10 minutes left, I’m not quite sure but it was pretty nerve-wracking for that one. It has been a good couple of years here and it’s pretty cool to hit 200.

Is the best part of hitting a milestone knowing you’ve had longevity in the League?

Yeah, obviously it’s the best league in the world and it’s a tough thing to do, it’s a tough sport and obviously lots of people are vying for your job. It has been a fun ride so far and hopefully we can go for a couple hundred more.

What’s it going to take to win tonight given how close the games have been head-to-head?

More of the same. They’re a really good team over there, they have a lot of skill and size and they move well too. I think for me and for our team it’s just making sure we’re sound with our structure. It’s the first game after the break and you want to be harping on the details, making sure you’re doing things right. For me it’s more of the same. You want to be big and agile out there, make sure you’re doing what you can to see the puck.

Has Brad Marchand done anything differently to have success against the Leafs this season?

He’s a good player, he has a lot of skill and he can shoot the puck well. He’s a player that’s obviously pretty valuable to them and he’s done a good job so far.

1:45 PM: Here’s what Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Tuesday’s game in Boston…

Leafs TV
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On Corrado’s status after practicing following a puck to the face:

I didn’t ask him, he was back out there.

What are you looking to get out of shuffling the defensive pairs?

Well just righty-lefty. With Marty in we’ve got a lefty-righty pair, I’m real comfortable with Dion and Gards but the bottom line is two righties together isn’t as good as it could be so we just switched them so we’ll see how it goes. I didn’t mind it in Tampa the other night.

What can Gardiner bring to you in the middle of the ice on the power play?

Basically what we’re doing is we’re trying to get the guys out there that give us the best chance to score. Our power play, when we go through it from a logical perspective and we go through scoring chances and entries and faceoff wins, we’re getting chances. We haven’t finished at all and in the end you’ve got to find a way to score a goal. We need to find a way to score a goal tonight and get some momentum for those guys. The other thing about your power play, as much as it helps you win games, it gives your best players confidence to score and then it carries over to 5-on-5. When you’re squeezing it a little bit like we have this last while when it hasn’t gone in, there’s trends that happen in the game obviously. We understand we’re going to score, we understand we’re going to get through it, it’s just when. We’d like to push that quicker.

On the forecheck as a key to victory:

You know, it’s interesting, our games against Boston, the first game to me was no contest. I thought we played real well in our building. The game was tight last time we played in Boston as far as being on the scoreboard but they were better than us and they were better than us from the start until the end. Us handling their forecheck, they forecheck real well. Us handling their O-zone cycle, they do a good job getting it to the top and crashing the net and making it hard on you. In order to prevent all those things, let’s execute, let’s be organized coming out of our zone, let’s be executing in our own zone and spend more time in their zone.

Do you find games get much tougher out of the all-star break?

As the League starts — and your first 20 games you get your softest 20, in my opinion anyway — the pace, the execution isn’t as high. As the pace goes higher and higher, the best players get better and better and the guys with skill continue to make plays.

Is the success of the Marlies a way to motivate the current group with players pushing for jobs below?

I never thought about using that with them, that’s not what I’m trying to do at all, threaten anybody with their job. They’re big boys, they can read the paper, they know who’s coming but each guy, we want to maximize our group and maximize the potential of each and every guy and if we’re not doing that we’ve got to find a way to do that better. So, no, I’m not using that at all.

What does coming up on 1000 games coached in the NHL mean to you?

I never really thought about it to tell you the truth. Obviously you’ve been in the League a long time and you must have had some success or you don’t get to stay in the League, no different than a player. I feel real honoured to coach in the National Hockey League, there’s only 30 of those jobs, I believe it’s the best League in the world. Obviously you’ve been able to keep your job long enough to get that long. How’s that?

12:30 PM: The Maple Leafs get back to action following the All-Star break on Tuesday night when they visit the Boston Bruins.

The Leafs last played on Jan. 27 when they dropped a 1-0 score to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jonathan Bernier had 28 saves in the loss. James Reimer is projected to get the start in Boston on Tuesday night.

The Bruins were last in action on Jan. 26 and took a 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Zach Trotman and Zdeno Chara scored for the Bruins in the loss, while Tuukka Rask made 19 saves and took the loss after entering the game in relief on Jonas Gustavsson. Rask is slated to make the start on Tuesday against the Leafs.

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

Source: Game Journal: Game 49 – Maple Leafs vs. Bruins

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