May 1, 2013
Bruins won't be underestimating Leafs' Reimer
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

Shawn Thornton of the Bruins skates at the TD Garden in Boston on April 20, 2013. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images/AFP)

BOSTON - When the Bruins look at the flat line beside James Reimer’s NHL playoff record, don’t expect them to be chortling.

They made the mistake of underestimating Brayden Holtby in last year’s opening series against the Washington Capitals, a first-round loss that dashed hopes of a repeat Stanley Cup win. Holtby didn’t dominate the seven-game affair, but it was the first series to go the distance with every match decided by a goal.

Holtby made 32 saves in Game 7’s overtime decision in what would be Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas’s last game as a Bruin.

“Definitely not,” Boston’s Shawn Thornton replied to a question about looking past Reimer. “I remember my first playoff series. I was pretty fired up to be out there. That’s just as dangerous as having no experience.”

Reimer’s record was 1-1-1 against the Bruins this past regular season, including losing a 1-0 duel with former Leaf draft pick Tuukka Rask. Expect the Bruins to get in Reimer’s face early and often when Game 1 starts at 7 p.m. and the Leafs to pester Rask.

“You always want to have that net presence,” the bruising Thornton said. “But it’s easier said than done some nights. They have a big, strong defence over there who will be trying to move us out.


“There will be little battles like that all over the ice. And it’s my experience that the team that wins the majority of those will wind up on top.”

Boston coach Claude Julien warned against getting too carried away, as both teams like to show off their muscle.

“Every team talks about it - discipline is important,” Julien said. “They’ll say the same thing in their room. It’s important not to take the penalties that will cost you a game or a series.”

Julien said big Nathan Horton’s upper body injury would make him a game-time decision. He missed the last five games of the regular season.

After a nine-year lull in playoffs for the Leafs and almost 40 since they last met the Bruins, the TD Gardens was packed Wednesday morning with media from both cities and across North America.

“It’s a bit of a different energy around town and around the building today,” Thornton said. “It’s an exciting time, what everyone plays for.

“Being from Oshawa and living there in the summer, I know everyone’s excited that the Leafs are back in it. I can just imagine what’s going on up there right now, judging by all the (visiting media) in the room. It’s good for hockey. The Leafs will be feeding off that, too.”


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