Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Bruins Come Up Short

Bruins Come Up Short

The Humboldt Broncos' bus was heading to a Sakatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. Friday night when it collided with a semi-truck.

Instead the next hour or so mushroomed into the most hard moment of his career. Vatrano also set up Henrik Borgstrom's goal 82 seconds into the game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have made the playoffs just three times in the last 13 years, and the lack of experience in big game situations can hurt a team, especially when going up against a Boston Bruins squad that's used to making Stanley Cup Final runs and has countless guys with double-digit years under their belts.

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Sweeney is pleased with the way his young players have been able to integrate with and augment the core group this season. "We had it in the third, but needed it right from the get go". The former Bruin, traded to the Panthers on February 22 for a third-round draft pick, pried the puck away from Matt Grzelcyk at the Bruins' blue line and nudged it ahead to Borgstrom, who took it down the slot against Adam McQuaid and rifled a wrist shot past Rask's glove. But when the series shifts to Toronto, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will nearly certainly do his best to get Matthews on the ice whenever Chara heads to the bench, which could make a significant difference in opening up just enough room for Matthews to operate. "I think it's mental, just not being sharp enough at the drop of the puck". Tampa Bay will face the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But to Sweeney's point, the Bruins will need to make it a priority to take away space and get into shooting lanes.

These are the sorts of things the Bruins must avoid in order to win this series. "(Our) body of work speaks for itself".

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A milestone that is under-appreciated for the Bruins is that they possessed an 18-game point streak from late December to late January. "On Thursday, I believe we will be the 50-win team you saw all year and we are not going to let one game define us". We've got a couple of days of practice to see where they all kind of get to. "It's a game of inches". Toronto has also struggled in dates away from the Air Canada Centre, posting just four wins in its final 12 road contests, a run that started with a 4-1 loss in Boston as +118 underdogs on February 3. Matthews was better than a point-per-game player this year, recording 63 points (with a balanced 34 goals and 29 assists) in 62 games played.

The Leafs clinched a playoff spot in Game No. 81 last season, but were pretty much guaranteed of finishing third in the division for last the six weeks. "The spring is short for most teams, and we don't want it to be short, we're having fun".

And while what happened in Game 7 five springs ago will be a focus for fans and media, Kadri put the amount of time that's passed in perspective.

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"We didn't deserve to win and that's the reality", Rask said.

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