• Bruins excited for Original 6 foe in playoffs
    By
     | April 30,2013
     
    AP Photo

    Boston Bruins’ Adam McQuaid (left), Daniel Paille (center) celebrate following a goal during a game last week.

    BOSTON — Canadian city.

    Original Six rival.

    Bad blood recently, and dating back to the beginnings of the league.

    It’s not the Montreal Canadians that the Bruins are preparing to face in the first round of the NHL playoffs, but the Boston players are counting on a tense and tough series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    “It’s two of the biggest hockey markets going at it,” Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said after the team’s regular-season finale, a 3-2 loss to Ottawa that left Boston with the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and a matchup with Toronto.

    “Maybe not as classic a rivalry as a Montreal-Boston, or Toronto-Montreal I guess, but I think whenever you have two Original Six teams going at it and they haven’t been in it for a while, so I know they’re going to be pretty jacked up, up there.”

    The Bruins and Maple Leafs open their best-of-seven first-round playoff series in Boston on Wednesday night, with Game 2 on Saturday. The series will shift to Toronto for games on next Monday and Wednesday.

    It will be the first postseason meeting of the Original Six rivals since 1974. A lot has happened since then to add energy to the rivalry, notably the trade of Phil Kessel to Toronto for draft picks that became Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.

    Seguin has emerged into one of the Bruins’ leading scorers, and the Boston fans have mocked Toronto with a chant of “Thank you, Kessel!”

    “I already looked at my phone and had more text messages than usual,” said Seguin, a native of the Toronto area. “Definitely the town is going to be excited, but I think we will be as well.”

    The Bruins and Maple Leafs were frequent opponents in the Original Six days and before, meeting 10 times in the playoffs from 1933-58; Toronto won eight of those series. Boston has fared better in the more modern era, beating the Leafs all three times they met from 1969-74.

    But they haven’t met since then, in part because Toronto spent much of the `80s and `90s in the other conference. The Leafs moved back to the Northeast Division in 1998-99, but they haven’t made the playoffs since 2004.

    Now they’re back.

    “I think it’s going to be a real emotional and physical series, and we got to play them heavy like we can,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday in a conference call with reporters.

    “It’s a passionate country for hockey. We’ve had those series with the Canadian teams. They’ve been very emotional in the Canadian cities. The media coverage becomes huge. It also, it’s exciting, and it’s exciting for the players to be part of it.”

    EASTERN CONFERENCE

    GP W L OT Pts GF GA

    z-Pittsburgh 48 36 12 0 72 165 119

    x-Montreal 48 29 14 5 63 149 126

    y-Washington 48 27 18 3 57 149 130

    x-Boston 48 28 14 6 62 131 109

    x-Toronto 48 26 17 5 57 145 133

    x-N.Y. Rangers 48 26 18 4 56 130 112

    x-Ottawa 48 25 17 6 56 116 104

    x-N.Y. Islanders 48 24 17 7 55 139 139

    Winnipeg 48 24 21 3 51 128 144

    Philadelphia 48 23 22 3 49 133 141

    New Jersey 48 19 19 10 48 112 129

    Buffalo 48 21 21 6 48 125 143

    Carolina 48 19 25 4 42 128 160

    Tampa Bay 48 18 26 4 40 148 150

    Florida 48 15 27 6 36 112 171

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    GP W L OT Pts GF GA

    z-Chicago 48 36 7 5 77 155 102

    y-Anaheim 48 30 12 6 66 140 118

    y-Vancouver 48 26 15 7 59 127 121

    x-St. Louis 48 29 17 2 60 129 115

    x-Los Angeles 48 27 16 5 59 133 118

    x-San Jose 48 25 16 7 57 124 116

    x-Detroit 48 24 16 8 56 124 115

    x-Minnesota 48 26 19 3 55 122 127

    Columbus 48 24 17 7 55 120 119

    Phoenix 48 21 18 9 51 125 131

    Dallas 48 22 22 4 48 130 142

    Edmonton 48 19 22 7 45 125 134

    Calgary 48 19 25 4 42 128 160

    Nashville 48 16 23 9 41 111 139

    Colorado 48 16 25 7 39 116 152

    x-clinched playoff spot

    y-clinched division

    z-clinched conference

    Saturday’s Games

    N.Y. Rangers 4, New Jersey 0

    Detroit 3, Dallas 0

    Columbus 3, Nashville 1

    Florida 5, Tampa Bay 3

    Washington 3, Boston 2, OT

    Philadelphia 2, Ottawa 1

    Montreal 4, Toronto 1

    Minnesota 3, Colorado 1

    Pittsburgh 8, Carolina 3

    St. Louis 3, Chicago 1

    Phoenix 5, Anaheim 3

    Edmonton 7, Vancouver 2

    Los Angeles 3, San Jose 2

    Sunday’s Games

    Ottawa 4, Boston 2

    Monday’s Games

    No games scheduled

    Tuesday’s Games

    No games scheduled



    NHL Calendar

    April 29 — NHL draft drawing.

    April 30 — Stanley Cup playoffs begin.

    May 27-June 1 — NHL draft combine, Toronto.

    June 1 — Deadline for signing unsigned draft choices.

    June 28 — Last possible date for Stanley Cup finals.

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