Behind Enemy Lines: Babcock wants more Gardiner, Tavares on the Bruins

James Marshall
April 12, 2019

The Gardiner-hate up in Toronto reached a peak a year ago when he was minus-5 in Game 7 against the Bruins, the worst coming on this Jake DeBrusk goal. They have also won 20 of their last 28 overall and they are a lights out 51-20 in their last 71 games at TD Garden. Or will the Maple Leafs finally get the best of the Bruins in a seven game series? Matthews and Marner's team, the Maple Leafs, are set to play the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday.

The biggest change for the Maple Leafs is the presence of center John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with Toronto last summer and then scored 47 goals in his first season with his hometown team. "But we played some awesome hockey, we deserved to be in the playoffs".

Toronto Maple Leafs X-Factor: Despite all the star power up front, Toronto's MVP is its goalie, Frederik Andersen. Though as Boston proved previous year when Toronto won three of four during the regular season, the season series does not much matter. We did a great job and I think it was under a lot of pressure, which is what you see in the playoffs. "So we're still disappointed, but I don't think anybody is going to doubt that this team had a lot of character". Apple has emphasized everyday photography for years and that doesn't change if you take photos of your kids, your pets, or your National Hockey League teammates.

"You obviously never forget it but you kind of just put it to the side and it drives you to work harder and be better", Gardiner said Tuesday. "It's not going to be an easy task this team we're playing".

"There's lots of people here that like to get things going".

The Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman doesn't need to relive Game 7, Period 3 - even if the echoes of last year's team collapse popped from the mouths of some upper-deck boo birds when he made a defensive gaffe mid-season. Weird things happen. And with the Bruins enjoying that miracle comeback in Game 7 in 2013 before emerging victorious in a wild Game 7 previous year, maybe the Toronto franchise is just overdue to get that extra bounce or break that decides a playoff series.

"But we need to take advantage of our opportunities and make sure we're prepared for each game".

The Leafs haven't given their travelling show much to be cheer about since their Western Canadian trip, but this 815th meeting (regular season and playoffs) will carry some extra emotion. "I really don't", Cassidy said. "You guys love throwing out comparisons and history and all that", Andersen told Sporting News.

For most of the season, we knew this matchup was coming. "There's no sense spending any time on that", Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said. Now they have to try and get back on track against a team that has been the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal became the last team eliminated from playoff contention on Friday when the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout.

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