The Bruins let a golden opportunity slip away Saturday night as they failed to take a 2-0 series lead against the Maple Leafs before the series shifts to Toronto for Games 3, and 4. Instead of carrying a series lead and momentum into Game 3, the Bruins are now tied with the Maple Leafs and will face a Leafs squad that is flying sky high after their win in Game 2.
Game 2 was a chance for the Bruins to really put the Maple Leafs behind the eight ball and put a cloud of doubt in the minds of the Maple Leafs, a team the Bruins have had tremendous success against. Instead of a desperate Leafs team, the Bruins will see a confident Leafs group that will have the luxury of a loud building on their side.
“I mean if you’re Toronto right now and you haven’t been in the playoffs for that long your fans have got to be excited over there” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
“And we know it’s going to be noisy and there’s going to be a lot of electricity in the air. And we have to face that. We’re the bad team coming in and what you’ve got to do is focus on your job and hopefully not let that kind of stuff throw you off your game.”
The Bruins know the building will be electric and the Maple Leafs will certainly be feeding off the crowd, but the Bruins will need to come out and just play hockey.
“The crowd will definitely give us a little bit of a lift, but if you don’t go on the ice and perform and play the way you can, it doesn’t make that much of a difference” said Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul who scored twice for Toronto in Game 2.
Getting off to a good start in Game 3 could be the key for the Bruins as they try and regain a series lead in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of energy and a lot of noise. They’ll be going back on a high, so we got to come out with a good start, take the crowd out of it, and have a strong game” said Bruins defensemen Wade Redden.
The last thing the Bruins want to do is lose in Game 3 and set up what will essentially be a must-win Game 4, Wednesday night in Toronto.
The Maple Leafs finished the year 13-9-2 on home ice while the Bruins went 12-9-3 away from the TD Garden during this lockout shortened season. The Bruins and Maple Leafs split the two contests they had at Air Canada Centre.
Defensemen Dougie Hamilton who grew up in Toronto knows very well how crazy the fans will be for Game 3.
The Maple Leafs and their fans will surely be hungry as the Leafs will look to take a 2-1 series lead, but the Bruins need to be the hungrier team in this one.
The Bruins played pretty well in Game 2, but clearly, not good enough, obviously the Bruins know they need to play better hockey Monday night.
“Yeah, we have to” said Bruins forward David Krejci.
“We know what they can do. I think we played a good game, but I don’t think we played our best game. That’s how it goes in the playoffs sometimes, so we have to regroup tomorrow and get back at it on Monday.”
The Air Canada Centre seats 19,800 and will be filled to capacity with a loud group of Maple Leafs fans. The Bruins hope to send 19,800 Maple Leafs fans home unhappy.