WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins held practice Tuesday morning at Ristuccia Arena before heading to Toronto for the first of a home-and-home set with the Maple Leafs that starts Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre and then concludes Saturday night at TD Garden.
With the Bruins one of the hottest teams in the NHL losing only once in their last 12 games and gaining points in all of those games, there wasn’t much to chat about except for their upcoming opponent. Despite the fact that Boston is 2-0-0 against Toronto, winning 6-2 and 7-0, the Bruins know that the Leafs will be amped up and have revenge on their minds for these two divisional games. With the Bruins (29 points) trailing Toronto (30 Points) by a point in the Northeast Division, the Bruins can take four huge divisional points and leap frog into the top spot.
“It’s not something you forget when you’re on the receiving side, so I don’t think it’s going to be a hard game for them to be motivated for,” head coach Claude Julien said of the 7-0 defeat the Bruins handed their rivals in Toronto earlier in November. “We’ve just got to be ready for that. We just gotta out there -- and I keep saying the same thing -- when we focus on ourselves and we go out and do the things we have to do, we’re a lot better than when we worry about what’s going to happen.”
Center Gregory Campbell echoed his coach’s sentiments. Campbell knows that despite the fact the Bruins have had their way with old friend Phil Kessel (NHL’s leading scorer with 31 points), they still must approach this game like any other.
“That’s all you can really do, is focus on the first game,” Gregory Campbell said after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve done well against them thus far this season. Whether that’s motivation for them or not, it’s going to be another hard one for us. We have to go in there and play good hockey. Wins will come if we play well. We’ve been playing well so far, so we have to continue that.”
-- Andrew Ference -- who took a maintenance day Monday and missed practice was back on the ice Tuesday and joined the rest of his fellow defenseman as everyone was accounted for.
-- There was a heavy emphasis on the penalty kill in practice with many of the defenseman, led by Zdeno Chara, doing battle drills and puck drills along the boards. The Bruins are seventh in the NHL in penalty killing with an 85.9 percent success rate but as defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after practice, there is always room for improvement.
“Yeah, there’s always room,” Seidenberg said. “It’s great having a guy like ‘Z’ out the with us because every day to him is a chance to get better even when we seem to be good.”