Bruins ready for nasty sequel to Game 1

Bruins ready for nasty sequel to Game 1
May 2, 2013, 3:45 pm
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BOSTON -— Unsurprisingly, Game 1 of the Bruins/Leafs playoff series ranked pretty high on the nasty scale with a chance for things to get much gnarlier as things proceed.

All it took was one game for Brad Marchand to accuse James van Riemsdyk of attempting to spear him “in the privates”, an accusation backed up by video, and then respond to that action in kind by swinging his hockey stick at JVR like an ancient samurai warrior.

“He speared me in the privates, so I kinda reacted,” admitted Marchand. “It’s pretty simple.

“It was the end of the game and we were up by a couple of goals, so it seemed like they were trying to send a message. But stuff happens in hockey. It’s a different game in the playoffs. It’s a completely different atmosphere where the game amps up a little bit, and it gets a lot more physical.”

The two hockey clubs combined for 67 registered hits in Boston’s 4-1 victory at TD Garden, and already escalated to a hearing with the Department of Player Safety for Andrew Ference after he caught Mikhail Grabovski in the head. It probably wasn’t all that different from the level of physical intimidation and merciless nastiness that both organizations showed the last time they met in the playoffs during an Old Time Hockey series back in 1974.

For whatever reason it appeared that Grabovski was a big target of the Bruins as Ference, Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg all took turns plastering him into the boards with glass-rattling big hits.

That doesn’t even count the cross-checks, slashes, face washes throughout the game, and the repeated punches to the side of the head that Chris Kelly absorbed at the end of the third period.

It was interesting to note that Toronto was trying to send messages in the closing minutes of the third period, but their best forwards, Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul, didn’t seem to want the puck on their sticks very much with Black and Gold skaters jumping into their collective faces.

It’s a style the Bruins are clearly accustomed to through their over 1,000 combined games of Stanley Cup playoff experience up and down the roster, while the Maple Leafs barely have over 100 games of combined postseason experience. In many ways that Game 1 was a garden variety playoff game for the Bruins, and probably the most intense hockey experiences many of the Leafs players have ever been through.

The Bruins have been through the seething hatred of the Vancouver Canucks series that transfixed hockey fans during the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, and they’ve lived through Montreal doing everything short of forming a lynch mob to go after Zdeno Chara when he hit Max Pacioretty into the Bell Centre stanchion.

No matter what Toronto does to the Black and Gold skaters, they’ve been through worse and come out triumphantly.

So to say the snarling tone of the playoff series favors an experienced, intimidating Bruins bunch is to simply state facts, but it appears there is no other way for Toronto to play either. They regularly skate Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren and led the NHL over 1,600 registered hits during the 2013 NHL regular season, and truculence is still the word even with Brian Burke no longer the general manager in Toronto.

So the Bruins will wipe away the gleeful feelings after their Game 1 victory, and get ready for another bout of the nasty from Toronto on Saturday night in an important statement game in the series.

“You’ve just got to take it game by game. We do have experience, but it’s their first time being in playoffs,” said Boychuk. “You know that [Toronto] is going to be coming out and want to show us something. They have a really good team and a very physical team and if you take them lightly they’re going to beat us.”

So now the Bruins take a breath over the next two days after Game 1, and set all of their priority on being ready to replicate their best efforts on Saturday night when things are expected to take another turn for the dirty, mean and nasty for both the Bruins and the Leafs in a hardcore Original Six playoff match-up.