Boston The Bruins have made it one of their missions this season to avoid consecutive losses. So far, Boston has rebounded well after each of their eight losses over 41 games.
But on Saturday night, the Black & Gold – who suffered their first regulation home loss of the season Thursday against Seattle – will have, perhaps, their toughest test yet in this regard, as the Toronto Maple Leafs visit league rivals TD Garden from For the first time this season.
“I think we were all disappointed by that [Thursday] At night, but at the same time you realize that losses happen, and we don’t want to be a team that loses two teams in a row.” Taylor Hall. “We also know who’s coming [Saturday] Night and down the road what might be the meaning of the game. It’s always exciting to play Toronto and it’s different when it’s on a Saturday night. We’re excited about that.”
Coach Jim Montgomery admitted that with the two best teams in the Eastern Conference squared off—Boston leads the East with 68 points, while Toronto is tied with Carolina for second with 59—it will be “a bigger game than the average regular season,” especially with both clubs wanting a comeback. to the right track.
“I don’t know if it’s at this point where … how much that dictates anything,” Montgomery mused. “I don’t think it’s because he wasn’t even in the All-Star break, but it’s an important game for both teams. They’ve lost two out of three and we’ve lost one and at home [outside of the Winter Classic] We’ve gone to overtime in the previous two games before winning.
“We need to organize our game and [Saturday] Is a good opportunity against one of the teams that… Toronto, Carolina and ourselves are probably the three teams that have been the best consistently so far this year, so it’s a good test for us.”
Video: Hall speaks with media from WIA
The Bruins will also be looking for a little revenge with the Maple Leafs being one of five teams to hand them a regulation loss this season. Back on November 5, Auston Matthews – who could return to the Toronto squad on Saturday after missing the last two games – scored both goals in a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
“Very similar to what Seattle did,” Montgomery said when asked what Toronto did in that game to get the Bruins into trouble. “They were five [skaters] Together, they were over us, and protected the middle of the ice well at their end.
“That game is linked to the game [Thursday] Nightly, learning opportunities for how to create more offense when we play with teams that do close checks. I think what Seattle did to us [Thursday] It was a lot of what we did throughout the year for the opponents.”
After making his NHL debut against Seattle, center Joona Koppanen was assigned to Providence on Friday afternoon. The 24-year-old has won 71 percent of his tackles and has a shot on goal in 8:50 of ice time — 1:14 of which came with a short putt.
“I loved it,” said Montgomery. “I thought he was good at penalties, I think he was a good support player. As far as we were talking about him [Tomas] Nosek, I thought he had a lot of those same qualities, so I thought in his first game in the NHL where we weren’t at the top of our game, I thought he was notable insofar as he pushed the needle forward for us. “
When Montgomery spoke after Friday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, the deal had yet to be announced, though the Boston bench chief looked like he might return. Ag Jarir – who missed the last three matches due to illness – was added to the squad on Saturday night.
“We haven’t made that decision yet, just because it’s Toronto and not because it doesn’t deserve it, but sometimes in the back of my head it’s like the players who brought you here should be rewarded by playing Toronto, so that’s what’s going on in my head right now,” Montgomery said.
VIDEO: Montgomery speaks after training on Friday at WIA
When the Bruins arrived at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday morning, Montgomery said, there was a noticeable sense of disappointment after losing to Seattle, a sentiment that hasn’t been easy to find around the rink this season.
“We didn’t used to come here and lose at home,” Montgomery said. I was talking with Brad Marchand On the subject, we were having breakfast together, and we were just talking about how empty your stomach felt today and we didn’t feel it.
“It’s kind of resentful of you—forgive my language but I don’t have a better word for it—for what we’re used to and it’s a bit stinging and you want to get that feeling back not just internally, but you could tell the whole town was rallying behind what we were doing…we want it back.” “.
Friday training lineup
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pasternak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Pavel Zacha – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederick
Nick Foligno – Thomas Nosek / Jonah Kopanen – AG Greer
Matt Grzelecik – Charlie McAvoy
Hambus Lindholm – Brandon Carlow
Derek Forport – Connor Clifton