TORONTO — The third win over the Toronto Maple Leafs was pretty difficult. And yet the Boston Bruins know that the fourth will be even harder.
The Bruins returned to the TD Garden for an optional practice yesterday, just hours after David Krejci completed a hat trick with an overtime winner that gave Boston a 3-1 lead over Toronto in the best-of-seven playoff series.
“I guess you see yourself already in the second round,” said Krejci, who scored the game-winner at 13:06 of the extra period. “But sometimes you forget about what you have to do. It’s really hard. It’s really tough to get the last win.”
Game 5 is tonight. With a win, the Bruins would advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the fourth time in five years and spoil Toronto’s hopes for its first playoff series victory since 2004.
“You know the other team is going to throw everything at you because it’s do-or-die for them,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who stopped 45 shots in Game 4. “You kind of have to take the same mentality. If you slip even a little bit, if you give the other team life, then they’re going to take advantage of that. And I think that’s a challenge we’re facing too, you know. We have to approach the game like it’s a do-or-die game for us.”
The Leafs will try to come back without defenseman Mark Fraser, who took a puck to the face on Wednesday night and had surgery yesterday. Coach Randy Carlyle said Fraser was resting at home and had been texting and talking to his teammates yesterday morning.
“He’s a well-respected guy in our locker room,” captain Dion Phaneuf said. “He’s done a great job all year for us physically, playing big minutes. He’s just a great teammate. It was a scary situation but we’re glad he’s doing OK.”