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Bruins look to sweep season series from Leafs

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews - The Canadian Press

The Boston Bruins skated at TD Garden on Thursday morning.


New Leafs defenceman Joel Edmundson is not expected to play on Thursday in Boston.

"He's going to be landing here right around the time we'll be getting going," coach Sheldon Keefe said. "Not expected to be an option. We got some game-time decisions so, in the event that we end up being shorthanded or undermanned going into the game, he may make an appearance, but not expected to at this point."

An illness is making its way through the Leafs dressing room. Defenceman Jake McCabe missed Wednesday's game, but is good to go against the Bruins, Keefe confirmed.

Edmundson was acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Thursday morning. The Capitals were in Pittsburgh preparing to face the Penguins.

Once Edmundson draws in, Keefe believes he will make a big impact, literally.

"Big guy, competitive, protects the net very well," Keefe said. "Not fun to play against. Another guy that adds to the depth of our defence and gives us some extra size and presence back there. I would say we've been an undersized defence in lots of ways in terms of our length and he adds to that."

At 6-foot-5, Edmundson is now Toronto's tallest blueliner. At 221 pounds, he's second heaviest behind only Morgan Rielly (225).

Edmundson also brings a championship pedigree. He helped the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019.

"You can never have enough of that type of experience," Keefe noted.

General manager Brad Treliving previously bolstered the team's defence by adding Ilya Lyubushkin via a trade last week.

"He's trying to make the team better," said winger Calle Jarnkrok. "That's all you can ask for as a player, give us the best chance possible to go as far as possible."

The Leafs will continue their road trip on Saturday in Montreal. Treliving has remained in Toronto to work the phones from his Bay St. office.


Auston Matthews was asked about the looming trade deadline after Wednesday's win. 

"I think we're all aware and there's chat about it, but it's not too deep," the Leafs centre told reporters. "A lot of things can happen. We'll see what happens."

Hours later, general manager Brad Treliving acquired defenceman Joel Edmundson from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2024 draft (previously owned by the New York Islanders) and a fifth-round selection in the 2025 draft (previously owned by the Chicago Blackhawks). Washington is retaining 50 per cent of Edmundson's salary.

News of the deal broke shortly after the Boston Bruins spoke to reporters following their skate. Even for contending teams, the trade deadline period creates an uncomfortable feeling. 

"It definitely is nerve-racking," acknowledged captain Brad Marchand

"It's always strange, obviously," defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "You might lose a guy or two and have someone else come in, so it's never easy. You build a relationship and a bond with guys as you grind through a season with them, but I've just learned that it's inevitable and something you have to adjust to on the fly."

Marchand urged his teammates to live in the moment and maintain perspective. 

"We just have to be grateful regardless of how it plays out," he said. "Grateful to be in this league and be an NHL player. It is stressful. It's tough, but you just have to focus on what you can control."

And Thursday's game is a perfect thing to focus on. The Leafs and Bruins will be wrapping up their four-game regular-season series.   

"It's a game we get up for," said Marchand. "They're a very gifted and talented team, probably our biggest rivalry in the last decade. We feel that every time we go in that building. Every time they come here it's an exciting game, one we look forward to. I just think guys get up for the game and you can tell they do too. They're always intense, emotional games, usually come down to the wire or OT."

The Bruins have won all three meetings with the Leafs this season, including one in a shootout and one in overtime. The most recent meeting on Monday in Toronto didn't require extra time as Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead and ended up winning 4-1. 

"Great chance for us to respond to the way the game went the other night," said Leafs winger William Nylander

"We have a bone to pick with them," said winger Tyler Bertuzzi. "We have to play better." 

The Bruins are looking to follow the recipe from Monday's win. 

"I'd like to see us as committed as we were to being on the right side of the puck and trying to hold onto pucks in the offensive zone," said coach Jim Montgomery. 

"We did a great job winning our puck battles, clogging up the neutral zone, not allowing them to transition, which is a huge part of their game," said Shattenkirk. "And then in the D-zone, we protected our net front. They're going to get their offensive chances, they push back, but I think we did a great job, collectively, of focusing on that aspect of our game and from there we got turnovers and were able to build it offensively."

Boston has won six straight games against Toronto. 

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The Leafs have failed to score on seven power-play chances against the Bruins this season. Toronto went 0-for-4 on Monday night.  

"Aside from our first power play, we had several grade-A chances," said coach Sheldon Keefe. "On one of them, they pulled it off of the goal line. Morgan [Rielly] hit the post in the third period. These kinds of things sometimes happen. I think it has a little more to do with us than the opponent. I don't think you can do too much with stats that you pull when you play a team once every 40 games."

The Bruins penalty kill was also perfect – 2-for-2 – in an overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. What does Montgomery like about his shorthanded units right now? 

"The attention to detail, the execution of it," he said, "making sure we are clearing pucks 200 feet." 

The Leafs failed to score on their one power play on Wednesday. Toronto is now 0-for-10 over the past five games. 


Bruins winger David Pastrnak picked up three primary assists in Monday's win against Toronto. 

"He just enjoys playing in these games," said Shattenkirk. "He's a big-time player. We know that. He's a key part of our team both offensively and I thought defensively he was hustling as well. He's special." 

Pastrnak has been on the ice for seven of the 10 goals the Bruins have scored against the Leafs this season, and he was on the ice for only one of Toronto's six goals in the three games, per the Elias Sports Bureau. 

"He's one of the best in the game," said Leafs captain John Tavares. "You gotta make life difficult for players like that and really make them have to earn their opportunities, get the puck out of their hands, and slow them down and make them have to defend, and we just didn't do that enough."

"He's one of the best players in the league," said winger Calle Jarnkrok, "but we have players like him on our team as well. A couple of them. But he's a good player."  

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Matthews was held off the scoresheet against the Bruins on Monday despite firing five shots on net. 

"It's a matter of time with him," Marchand said. "He scores every game or if he doesn't score one game he's getting two the next."

Matthews scored the overtime winner on Wednesday against Buffalo. He's on pace for 72 goals. 

"It's incredible," Marchand said. "It's one of those things you almost want to see happen. You don't want to see it happen against your team, but you want to see guys around the league have success and compete with records in the past." 

The NHL hasn't seen a 70-goal scorer since Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne potted 76 in 1992-93. Wayne Gretzky owns the single-season record of 92, which he set in the 1981-82 season. 

Marchand believes Matthews' season is on par with the Great One, because of how hard it is to score in today's game. 

"That's got to be equivalent to what Gretzky did," the winger said. "You can't compare eras, but definitely equivalent to one of the best goal-scoring seasons ever. Again, don't want to see him score against us, but it would be pretty cool to see him get that." 

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After allowing four goals on 27 shots in Monday's loss, Joseph Woll gets another shot at the Bruins on Thursday.  

"I'll take a look at the video and see if I can find some stuff to do better," he said. "Both teams played hard. I thought there were periods of the game where we were playing really well. At the end of the day, they capitalized on a couple of their chances and that's the difference."

Jeremy Swayman allowed just one goal on 33 shots to get the win. It was the first time Woll and Swayman – teammates on the USA World Junior squad in 2018 – faced off in the NHL. 

If there's one silver lining in the game for Woll, it's that Bruins winger Trent Frederic didn't score. His fellow St. Louis native and good friend scored on him earlier in the season. 

"He always seems to score on me, whatever the level," Woll said. "Hopefully a new trend."

Woll signed his entry-level contract with the Leafs in March 2019, which was just a few weeks before the Leafs and Bruins faced off in the playoffs. The rivalry made an immediate impression on him. 

"The energy is up, and they are difficult games to play," he recalled. "It's exciting to play against the Bruins."

Woll says it will be special to play his first NHL game in Boston. He spent three seasons at Boston College, where he had a chance to play at TD Garden on a few occasions. The Eagles never won the Beanpot when he was at school, but Woll did highlight one special moment in the building. 

As a freshman, Woll stopped 42 of 44 shots to knock out Boston University in the 2017 Hockey East semifinals. That Boston University team featured Clayton Keller, Jordan Greenway, Dante Fabbro and current Bruin Charlie McAvoy. Woll outduelled his good friend and U.S. National Team Development Program teammate Jake Oettinger in that game. 

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As part of their centennial season celebrations, the Bruins will honour the 2010-11 Stanley Cup champion team in a pre-game ceremony. 

"What I've noticed on the era nights ... the ceremony gives us a lot of emotion," said Montgomery. 

"The building will be rocking," Marchand predicted. "It's exciting for the group in here to use that as motivation to come out hard."

The 2010-11 team had a dinner together on Wednesday night and attended the morning skate on Thursday. Marchand is the only player remaining from that championship team. 

"You don't realize how fast the time goes by," the 35-year-old said. "It just feels like yesterday we were together. The memories of our time together, you know, it was so special and so many great stories that we had to talk about."

All these later, Marchand said his old friends are still quick to put him in his place. 

"I'm still the guy that gets picked on," he said with a smile. "It's funny, I'm the old guy in here, but when we all get together I'm the young guy again, so the bullying continues."

"He's continuing carrying the culture and it's great to see," said long-time Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "It's something we took a lot of pride to build and I'm happy to see it carry on."

What made that 2010-11 squad special? 

"We built something together," Chara said. "We held each other accountable. We loved each other. We played hard. We practised hard. We cared so much about how we played and how we want to be remembered. We did it together. It took some challenges, it took some upsets, before we were able to overcome some of those things and reach that ultimate goal. We all realized that we needed each other to accomplish that. That's what we took the most pride in."

That Bruins team needed seven games to win three of the four series they played en route to the Cup. In the other series, Boston swept a Philadelphia Flyers team that had rallied from three games down to knock them out one year earlier. The Bruins also lost the first two games of the Stanley Cup final against the Vancouver Canucks

"As a team, there was nobody that was more important and there was nobody that wasn't important," recalled Claude Julien, who was behind the bench for the run. "The young players were expected to have the same approach and same responsibilities as the veteran players. There were no free passes … There was an obligation. That was built not necessarily from the coaching staff, but also from the players inside that dressing room. That's what they expected from each other and that's what made us special and that's what made us a Stanley Cup team is that the expectations from the first player to the last were high and they expected that from each other."

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Bruins defenceman Hampus Lindholm skated on Thursday morning, but isn't ready to return from a lower-body injury. 

"But he's getting closer every day," said Montgomery.

Lindholm last played on Feb. 19.  


Lines at Thursday's Bruins skate: 


Marchand - Coyle - DeBrusk

Heinen - Zacha - Pastrnak

van Riemsdyk - Geekie - Frederic

Lauko - Boqvist - Brazeau



Grzelcyk - McAvoy

Lohrei - Carlo

Wotherspoon - Shattenkirk



Swayman starts