He does not consider the history relevant to what lays ahead of the team though. I don't know what to say.
"It's just experience, having guys in the room who were part of the series a year ago".
The Bruins are the favorites, and deservedly so, but this series will be a hard one for Boston. Though as Boston proved a year ago when Toronto won three of four during the regular season, the season series does not much matter.
Toronto jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period. The Maple Leafs have always been a thorn in Boston's side. Now they have to try and get back on track against a team that has been the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Gardiner-hate up in Toronto reached a peak previous year when he was minus-5 in Game 7 against the Bruins, the worst coming on this Jake DeBrusk goal.
"I've been with this team a long time, a lot of these guys, and I definitely have to take advantage of it", he said.
Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Kasperi Kapanen (24) looks on during the warm-up session before a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. I guess the negative in the back of your mind, if you don't give your starter the benefit of the doubt, if he's having one of those average games, you can get quick trigger fingers.
"Maybe win one", he noted. "I think he is a really good player and I'm going to play him a lot".
The Maple Leafs, who will start their path to redemption, they hope, while exorcising Beantown ghosts in Game 1 against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at TD Garden, have been saying they feel good about their chances in the opening round. Head coach Mike Babcock scoffed at the notion of the hostility being too much to handle for his team and instead pointed out the series will ultimately come down to which team executes the best. "It's going to be on the ice, amongst two teams". Even when we were obviously in a bit of a dip - you know it's a roller-coaster year - we were still positive and we were still helping each other out. They're just going to play their game. "We're going to be better for it next year". "When you're the coach, you should take it on yourself".
With 11:56 left to play in a 4-4 game, the Leafs broke the deadlock when Auston Matthews found Kapanen alone in the slot for the victor.
There are some similarities between this Leafs team and the one that lost to the Bruins last season, but one key significant change could make all the difference. I guess the way I look at it is real simple for me. You pull your starter, throw a guy in there, the rest of the guys are looking at you like, "What the hell are you doing?" Through most of the season, Toronto was top-five in terms of 5-on-5 goals for percentage but a weak finish bumped them to sixth in the league, one spot behind Boston.
"That's really how you set yourself up for success, you do your good work in the days leading up and that should give you the confidence to perform in the games".