BOSTON -- The hardened, veteran Bruins manhandled the Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their playoff series, and beat them in every imaginable category. It’s probably not surprising, given that the B’s still have 17 holdovers from their Stanley Cup team of two years ago and Leafs have a roster full of playoff nobodies.
The combined playoff experience on Toronto's active roster (206) is barely more than the 181 career playoff games on Jaromir Jagr’s NHL resume, and that played out on the ice as the Black and Gold beat up Toronto on the ice and on the scoreboard. But, that being said, the Bruins are also experienced enough to know it was only a single 4-1 victory in Game 1 of a seven-game series and it’s going to take at least three more similar efforts to advance.
The Bruins learned that hard lesson last season when they opened up a 1-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals last yeat and proceeded to lose the rest of their games on home ice en route to a first round playoff exit.
“We’ve been through this before, and it doesn’t help to get too high or too low,” said Patrice Bergeron. “[The Leafs are] a team that’s going to want it more in the next game, and we need to be ready for that. You try to learn from the past and get past those playoff series. I don’t know if it was a mental letdown, but give credit to Washington in that series, as well.
“They didn’t give us much defensively, but I don’t think much about that playoff series anymore.”
Claude Julien gave his Bruins the day off on Thursday with an eye toward allowing them to catch up on their rest after a flurry of regular-season games at the end of their 48-game schedule. But the B’s are definitely not taking their foot off the gas pedal after finding their footing on offense, defense, goaltending, special teams and emotionally in a one-sided victory over the Leafs.
“We played well, but this is a seven-game series,” said Julien. “It’s not a one-game winner takes all, so there’s no reason to get overexcited or overconfident. They’re going to make some adjustments to their game, and we’ll have to make some adjustments as well. We’re going to have to remain grounded as we’ve done in the past, and just go out there and play hard like we did last night.”
It sounds like the Bruins are really beginning to feel the confidence flow through their entire roster, but still realize that it’s a “very winnable” series for Nazem Kadri and the Leafs if they’re allowed a little space to breathe.