Andrew Ference watched Game 2 of the Bruins’ playoff series against the Maple Leafs Saturday night from the TD Garden press box alongside healthy scratches Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg, and Aaron Johnson. It was not Ference’s preferred point of perspective.
“Nerve-racking,” Ference said after practice Sunday. “You’re just sitting there. I think I probably bruised Daugy’s arm, hitting him so many times. You just hate it. But that’s the way it is.”
Ference was suspended for Game 2 because of his illegal check to Mikhail Grabovski’s head in Game 1.
Ference will be back on the ice in Game 3 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre Monday night in Toronto. He will be on the second defense pairing with usual partner Johnny Boychuk. Dougie Hamilton, who made his NHL playoff debut in Game 2, will be a healthy scratch Monday night. Hamilton practiced with Johnson on the spare pair Sunday.
Ference will be most welcome. The veteran played 19:36 in Game 1. His outlet pass in the second period led to David Krejci’s goal at 10:25.
“It’s his experience,” coach Claude Julien said of Ference’s assets. “Besides winning the Cup, he was in the finals with Calgary that one year. He understands how important those playoff games and things you do in playoffs are. He’s stabilized our defense as far as getting the right pairs and everything else. He’s a guy who comes to play every night. Not only is he a good player, he’s a good leader. He’s very poised in the dressing room. When he speaks, he speaks well like many of our other guys. He adds that element to our hockey club.”
Just as important, Ference’s return will give the defense its Game 1 normalcy. Zdeno Chara will be back with Dennis Seidenberg on the shutdown duo. Chara and Seidenberg should see most of their shifts against Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak, and Phil Kessel, Toronto’s No. 1 line.
Because of Ference’s absence, the Bruins had to split Chara and Seidenberg in Game 2. Chara took shifts with Hamilton and Adam McQuaid.
Seidenberg was paired with Boychuk. The duo struggled for most of Game 2. Seidenberg was on the ice for all three of Toronto’s even-strength goals. He played on the left side for the first time in more than a month. Seidenberg is better on the right side.
“The number of outnumbered situations that we gave them,” said Julien, referring to the major shortcoming in Game 2. “We had some real bad pinches. We gave them some opportunities that way.”
McQuaid will be with Wade Redden on the third tandem.
No Phaneuf discipline
The Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf will not face supplemental discipline for his Game 2 hit on Daniel Paille. Phaneuf appeared to catch Paille up high with his left arm and shoulder; Paille believed Phaneuf had connected to his head with an elbow.
Phaneuf is Toronto’s captain and No. 1 defenseman. He is averaging 23:25 of ice time, most on the Leafs’ roster.
Julien cited sloppy line changes as one of the Bruins’ trouble areas in Game 2. The Bruins had an ill-timed change before Lupul’s second goal. Jaromir Jagr and Chris Kelly, who had just changed for Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron, couldn’t get on the ice quickly enough to backcheck on Lupul. “I think the mental part of our game — and you’ve heard me say this often — has to be a little sharper in the decision-making,” Julien said. “It was a physical game. I’m not going to criticize the effort. But the mistakes were what I thought was the biggest difference.” . . . Toronto coach Randy Carlyle will have the last change in Games 3 and 4. It will be easier for Carlyle to get his preferred matchups. In turn, Chara, Kessel’s shadow, could be spending much of his time entering and exiting the ice. “Could be, could be,” Chara said. “We’ve just got to play the game. We can’t always be worried about the matchups. We all believe in every player we have. We can play with anybody.” . . . Monday night will mark the first playoff game in Toronto since May 4, 2004. “It’s going to be loud,” said Kelly, a Toronto native. “Just like it’s loud here. It’s the playoffs. Fans get excited. Players get excited. It’s the best time of year.” . . . Soderberg, Daugavins, Pandolfo, Hamilton, and Johnson should be the healthy scratches in Game 3.Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.