The Bruins and Maple Leafs will begin their pursuit of the Stanley Cup Thursday.
Gardiner long has been seen in a negative light by some, considering his every-so-often miscues that lead to goals by the opposition.
The most effective way for the Maple Leafs to put this storyline to bed is to get out to a better start in the series and avoid chasing it the way they did for much of the time a year ago.
As the higher seed, the Bruins host Game 1 and Game 2 of the best of seven series at TD Garden on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.
"This is what [Gardiner] did: He came out to the media and said he had a tough Game 7", Babcock said. "You never forget it, but you put it to the side and it drives you to work harder and be better". While we don't know yet how physical the play will be or how the referees will be calling the series, getting the edge by creating as many power play opportunities as possible could be the X-factor. Then a pair of back injuries wound up costing him 20 games.
Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak combined for a gaudy 30 points against Toronto in the first round last April, while Matthews mustered a solitary goal to go along with one assist. Poehling, making his National Hockey League debut, scored three goals and then added the victor in the shootout.
Gardiner said he never re-watched the game but said it took him about two weeks to really move on from one of the lowest moments of his career.
"I think Jake Gardiner is a really good player", Babcock said after the Leafs held an optional practice on Tuesday.
The Leafs and Bruins will play every other day until a victor is decided in the best-of-seven series.
"Do you think I'm going to tell you?"
"It's real simple for me". Andersen looks like he'll be finishing off the year with 60 starts, down from the consecutive 66-game seasons he played his first two years in Toronto.
Of course surrendering a 4-1 lead midway through the third period in Game 7 back in 2013 - only Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri remain from that team - is still ripe in the minds of many Maple Leafs fans.
The 28-year-old will arguably be the second-most-attractive defenceman on the free agent market (next to San Jose's Erik Karlsson) and due a significant pay bump from his current $4.05-million salary.
"Definitely", he said. "I've been with this team a long time, a lot of these guys". When you are the coach, take it on yourself, when you are the player, take it on yourself. The Bruins have had the upper hand against the Leafs, the last two series of course ending in dramatic fashion with both heading to game 7. Now he's ready to help the Leafs find a way past their recent postseason rivals. We all lost. We all were there. We were kinda talking about, y'know, if you're up in a game, make sure you finish it. "Any time you have a defeat like that, it drives you to be even better each year". But this is a different team. That's all well and good with Gardiner, who has shown good chemistry with Dermott in the past.
"It's important that we have confidence in ourselves and believe in ourselves going into the series". The Bruins won the season series 3-1, too. "They know what we're about and we know what they're about and now we have to go out and execute and make it happen".
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