TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs will attempt to stave off elimination once again Sunday night in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins at Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs were a confident group in their locker room following their morning skate. The players were relaxed and joking around as they hoped to force a possible Game 7 Monday night in Boston.
“We’re not going to expect anything but Boston’s best, and I’m sure it’ll come early and it’ll come often,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “We have to be able to at least put ourselves in a situation where we can control the puck and do a lot of attack. We have to establish that forechecking game as quickly as possible and I’m sure that’s what their mandate is going to be.”
The Maple Leafs controlled the first 40 minutes of their 2-1 win over the Bruins in Game 5, but Boston outplayed Toronto in the third period, to no avail. Any player on either team asked this morning about momentum brushed the question away.
“We’re obviously happy with the way we played last game, but that’s last game and today’s a new day and another big game for our team,” Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said.
The Bruins had a 3-1 lead in this series before the Maple Leafs won Friday to force Game 6. While van Riemsdyk says you can’t compare the two situations, he believes this Toronto team can do the same.
“It’s tough to really compare something like that, but at the same time, you’ve got to have that belief in yourself, first and foremost,” van Riemsdyk said. “We definitely have that belief that we can go out there and win a hockey game. We know it’s going to be a big challenge, they're a strong group over there, they’ve been a strong team all season long and they won the Cup two years ago. We know there’s a lot at stake and we know it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
After the Game 5 loss, the Bruins had no answers for their poor start, and despite finishing that game strong, they’ve already forgotten about it.
“I wish I knew why we didn’t have our best game, but let’s hope we have it tonight,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. “Momentum, a lot of times, is just a word. It depends on who’s playing their game that given night.”