Bruins, Maple Leafs resume Stanley Cup playoff battle
TORONTO (AP) -- The day after a punishing playoff game that featured 99 hits, burly Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser was feeling it.
Not that he was complaining. Still it had to hurt a little more, given that Boston won Monday night's game 5-2 to regain the upper hand in the series. The Bruins lead 2-1 going into Game 4 Wednesday night.
Despite the pain, the 26-year-old Fraser was in a good mood at Tuesday's skate.
"Sometimes you might feel a bump or a bruise and you're not even sure how you got it," the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder said after practice.
After a night when Boston outhit Toronto 51-49, Fraser was asked if he leapt out of bed Tuesday to head to the rink.
"Actually, today I did," he said with a grin. "A big part of that has been the significant change of the weather, the sunshine."
For Toronto coach Randy Carlyle, the summer-like day was a welcome reminder to his players that all is not lost, despite a second defeat in three games in their first playoff experience since 2004.
"I used to say everybody's in doom and gloom, but the sun did come up today," the coach said. "It was sunny out there.
"That would be the way we'd want to flush things and turn the page on it. Today's a new day. Let's start. Let's build. Let's focus. All those things are things that we try to provide."
Carlyle and his coaching staff got a helping hand Tuesday when the clocks in the dressing room malfunctioned. They were six minutes off, meaning a group of Leafs arrived on the ice late for practice. They were greeted with some good-natured derision from teammates who made it on time.
"You can't change what happened and that can't really be your focus on what today brought," Carlyle said. "Today was about flushing what happened last night, recognizing what happened and then going into the preparation mode of tomorrow.
"Our focus has to be on what we can improve on for tomorrow night's game. Can we improve on our turnovers? Can we improve on the out-and-out turnovers that led to their goals? Can we improve on our execution with the puck?"
Boston coach Claude Julien, whose team excels at faceoffs, knew exactly what Carlyle was doing.
"When you lobby for something, it's because you're looking for a bit of a break next game," he said. "And that's what Randy is doing right now.
"It's going to be interesting to see whether the referees and the linesmen just do their job next game and not worry about who's crying wolf."
Boston's Patrice Bergeron led the league in faceoff wins during the regular season, 62.1 percent. David Krejci ranked 15th.
One person Carlyle doesn't have to convince of the Leafs' abilities as a team is Julien.
"We know that we're in for a dogfight and the next game's going to be a challenge," Julien said. "They know they can play with us and they've proven it."
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