From Todd Angilly setting the mood with a two-anthem intro to “Dirty Water” serving as the closing credits of Saturday’s showdown between the Bruins and Maple Leafs, everything about this latest epic between the two top teams in the Eastern Conference felt bigger than your regular January 14th contest.
But then again, that is Bruins vs. Maple Leafs.
“I like how we all stuck together out there,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said following his team’s 4-3 win. “There’s guys on their team that certain guys on our team don’t like and I’m sure it’s the same way for them.”
“I haven’t played in the playoffs in the NHL, but I can definitely feel it through the building [and] on the bench,” Bruins forward A.J. Greer said. “They pushed hard in the third, but we’re such a talented team and we have such a tight group, that we’re never out of it. We have a resilient group, and we have a tight group, and it was a great win.
“It’s Bruins hockey. It’s electric.”
(Print the shirts, to be honest.)
This one featured a little bit of everything, too. You had a great, heavyweight fight between Nick Foligno and Wayne Simmonds, Matt Murray and Linus Ullmark both came through with Save of the Year candidate stops, and Michael Bunting even tried kicking a guy. Just a ridiculously fun night at the Garden, and with two more points banked away by the Bruins, bringing their lead over the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division up to 11 points, and with two games in hand.
Oh, and the Bruins improved to 9-0-0 following a loss this season.
“I think the game meant more to us than I imagined before the game,” Montgomery admitted. “I think that was my biggest takeaway. And I’m glad it did. We’re proud of not having lost two in a row, and there was a purpose to what we were doing. Not only because it was the second-place team in Toronto that we were playing, but we don’t want to lose two in a row. Because you get into a playoff [series], you lose two in a row, you’re in a bit of a hole.”
Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars of the game from a big win over the Maple Leafs…