BOSTON (AP) — Forget about the way the Bruins and Maple Leafs stumbled into the playoffs. Pay no attention to how Boston has dominated Toronto in recent seasons.
That's what both teams will be trying to do when they meet in the playoffs Wednesday night for the first time since 1974.
"If things would've been going all our way, we would've been downplaying it the same way," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said Tuesday.
The Bruins missed a chance to finish second in the Eastern Conference by losing seven of their last nine games. The Maple Leafs dropped four of their last six regular-season games and nine of 10 to Boston over the past two seasons. They've also lost 11 of their last 13 at TD Garden.
"I'd expect we're going to get a Boston Bruins team that's different than the last two weeks of their season and I'd expect we're going to get a higher brand of hockey from our club also," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said.
Both teams are likely to get key scorers back from upper-body injuries — Nathan Horton for Boston and Tyler Bozak for Toronto. Horton missed five games and Bozak sat out two.
"I think we're playing a little bit better. We're just not scoring," Horton said. "We get our chances but we didn't put the teams away and we just gave them a chance to stick around. That's how they come back and that's in the past now. We don't want to think of that."
The Bruins' 131 goals were eighth in the conference and they scored only 18 in their last nine games. The Leafs were fifth with 145 goals and now expect Bozak, who had 12 goals and 16 assists this season, to be ready for the opener of Toronto's first playoff series in nine years.
"When you have a player that takes all the important faceoffs for you, that's the first place you miss him," Carlyle said. "Bozie is a real smart hockey player. He knows where to be on the ice. The puck kind of follows him around and his game is one where he does a lot of the little things that aren't noticed, but you notice them when he's not there."
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