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Andrew Ference out for Game 6 05.12.13 at 1:04 pm ET
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Andrew Ference

TORONTO – Andrew Ference did not travel to Toronto is out for Game 6 against the Maple Leafs with an undisclosed injury, Claude Julien said following the team’s morning skate Sunday at Air Canada Centre.

Wade Redden, who missed Game 5 due to injury but practiced Saturday, was on the ice for Sunday’s morning skate and is a game-time decision for Game 6.

The injury statuses of Ference and Redden leave the Bruins in a tight spot, as both players are left-handed shots. Matt Bartkowski should be expected to play in place of Ference, but if Redden is out the Bruins will have to choose between Dougie Hamilton (a righty) and Aaron Johnson (a lefty who hasn’t played since March 30). Putting Hamilton into the lineup in place of a lefty in Ference proved troublesome in Game 2, as the B’s had to break up the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg (both lefties) pairing in order to avoid playing Hamilton in an unfamiliar spot.

If Redden is able to play, it’s likely he would skate with Johnny Boychuk on Boston’s second pairing, while Bartkowski would man the left side of the third pairing with Adam McQuaid. If Hamilton has to play, the B’s will not only have to break up the top pairing but also have two inexperienced youngsters on their back end.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Andrew Ference on his turnover: ‘It sucks to mishandle the puck’ 05.10.13 at 11:02 pm ET
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Andrew Ference can only watch as Tyler Bozak makes him pay for a turnover in Game 5. (AP)

In a game when your offense isn’t finishing, every mistake is magnified. And in a playoff game, that magnification can become enormous.

Andrew Ference knows this only too well.

The Bruins defenseman mishandled a puck at the right point in the Bruins offensive end while on the power player and it led to Tyler Bozak scoring just the second shorthanded goal of the season for Toronto. Tyler Bozak won a footrace with Ference, who tried desperately to get back but couldn’t as Bozak broke a scoreless tie and the Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 win in Game 5 Friday night at TD Garden.

“Well, it sucks,” Ference said. “It sucks to mishandle a puck, but it’s not a bad decision or anything like that. It just happens, so it’s fine. It’s happened to all of us and you deal with it.”

Now the Bruins must hit the road for Game 6 in Toronto Sunday night at Air Canada Centre.

“I can’t really recall anything ever being easy for any team,” Ference said. “Like I said, wins are difficult to get this time of year and they have to be earned. Like I said, if you don’t match a team at the beginning of a game like that, you spot them a couple of goals, it’s a tough win this time of year.”

Ference was playing with Johnny Boychuk on defense the entire game while Matt Bartkowski replaced the injured Wade Redden on defense.

“It’s tough to miss anybody, but there’s always people to come in and play well and fill a role that they need to fill,” Ference said. “Every team has to deal with that. There’s guys that go down for every single team, so there’s no feeling sorry for yourself or wishing you had a guy. You just deal with it.”

Did the Bruins miss Redden’s offense on D?

“Well, of course, but he wasn’t able to play so you don’t get into the ‘we wish this.’ It’s not the way it is,” Ference said.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toronto Maple Leafs
James van Riemsdyk hopes to be part of another big comeback vs. Bruins at 1:07 pm ET
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James van Riemsdyk has overcome a bigger hole vs. the Bruins than he faces now. (AP)

Though the Maple Leafs are in their first postseason in eight seasons, they are at least a little prepared for the daunting task they face entering Game 5 of their series against the Bruins thanks to one player who is proof that series aren’t over until a team wins four games.

James van Riemsdyk has been in a 3-1 hole against the Bruins before. He’s also been in a 3-0 hole against them, and, two games later, a 3-2 hole. He’s been in a series that was tied, 3-3, against the Bruins, and he’s helped put them away in Game 7.

With the Leafs facing elimination on Friday night at TD Garden, van Riemsdyk is using his 2010 postseason experience with the Flyers as he and his team try to come back in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the B’s.

“You’ve just got to not look at the whole task as getting back to that point,” van Riemsdyk said Friday. “You’ve just got to take it one game at a time and just kind of start chipping away. We know, obviously, it’s not an ideal position we’re in, but you’ve got to take it one game at a time. You win one game and you never know what can happen.”

Folks around these parts know what happened back in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. As a rookie, van Riemsdyk scored the Flyers’ first goal of Game 7 after Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. The Flyers came back in that game, just as they had in the series, and eliminated the B’s in shocking fashion.

Now, three years, a Bruins Stanley Cup run in which the B’s swept the Flyers, and one trade later, the now-24-year-old Maple Leafs winger recalls being the rookie on a team that believed it could come back in a series that looked all but over. He remembered the players buying into the concept of only looking at what was directly in front of them, and not farther ahead of them. They broke their task into shifts rather than games or pages of history books.

“You can kind of psyche yourself out a bit if you worry too much about being down 3-1 vs. just focusing on, ‘We need to win a hockey game,’ ” van Riemsdyk said.

The Bruins have had a hard time finishing teams off when the pressure hasn’t been at its greatest. Under Claude Julien, the B’s are 3-6 when they can eliminate a team in a non-Game 7 situation. Going back to that 2010 season, the B’s had three chances against the Flyers and lost all three. The next year, they had 3-2 leads against both the Canadiens and Lightning and lost Game 6, though they swept the Flyers and came back to force Game 7 against the Canucks. They hope this series doesn’t last any longer than it has to for them.

“We’ve learned both sides of the coin,” Andrew Ference said. “When you don’t close out a series and give a team life, it can be a pretty dangerous fire to play with.

“It gets tossed around a lot that the fourth win’s the hardest, but I don’t think it’s any harder than the first, second or third. Every win is tough. In the playoffs, the victories are earned. There’s no freebies.”

Despite the score of the series and the fact that three of the first four games were determined by two or more goals, the games have been played tighter than many expected. There’s a reason that Game 4 went down to the wire when both teams were playing strong, fast-paced hockey. The Leafs, who many wrote off entering the postseason, believe they can hang with the Bruins.

“We’ve responded to adversity pretty well throughout the whole season, so that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” van Riemsdyk said. “We’ll find out a lot about our team by our effort tonight.”

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Andrew Ference suspension leaves Bruins with choice to make on defense 05.02.13 at 6:37 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton or Aaron Johnson will be called upon in Game 2. (AP)

After a completely one-sided contest in Game 1, things got interesting Thursday in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Bruins and Maple Leafs when B’s defenseman Andrew Ference was suspended for Game 2 for an illegal hit to the head of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski.

Ference was viewed as a repeat offender because his last suspension (the only other one of his 13-year career) came within the past 18 months — he was suspended for three games last January for his hit on Ryan McDonagh.

You can say all you wanted about Ference’s start to the season — which was not good — but he recovered well and is once again one of the more important and underrated pieces for the B’s. His absence isn’t something to overlook, and if the Maple Leafs plan on showing up for Game 2 (a big “if” after they chose not to Wednesday), it could be a closer game than the 4-1 drubbing the B’s gave the Leafs.

Without Ference, the Bruins have two options: There’s Dougie Hamilton, who played in 42 of the Bruins’ 48 regular-season games, and there’s Aaron Johnson.

While Hamilton’s name might come to mind first because of his offensive skill and the fact that he’s, well, Dougie Hamilton, don’t rule out Johnson. The 30-year-old is a left shot like Ference and could either slide into Ference’s spot on the pairing with Johnny Boychuk or play with Adam McQuaid, allowing Wade Redden to move onto Boychuk’s pairing.

The issue with Johnson is that he’s likely rusty after playing in only 10 regular season games, the most recent of which was over a month ago on March 30 against the Flyers.

Hamilton being in the lineup would give the B’s a bit of a predicament from a pairing standpoint. With Dennis Seidenberg playing on the right side with Zdeno Chara as part of the top pairing, that would give the Bruins three right-shot defensemen in their other two pairings. Perhaps Hamilton being in the lineup would force Claude Julien to break up the Chara-Seidenberg pairing to allow Seidenberg to go back to the left side on another pairing, with Hamilton skating with either Chara or Seidenberg, but would the Bruins really want to break up that top pairing given how effective it was in Game 1?

So those are the Bruins’ two options: Play the more talented rookie — but one who looked more and more like a rookie in the second half of the season — who would likely cause a bit of shuffling among the defensemen. Or, play the veteran who hasn’t been in the lineup in over a month. Those aren’t the best options, but just remember that Shane Hnidy at the very end of his career played three games in the playoffs in 2011, getting just 3:09 of ice time per game, and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup that postseason. Losing Ference is bigger than you might think, but it isn’t the end of the world.

Read More: Aaron Johnson, Andrew Ference, Dougie Hamilton,
Andrew Ference suspended for Game 2 at 6:33 pm ET
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The NHL announced Thursday that Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been given a one-game suspension for his hit to the head of Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski during a first-period Leafs power play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

With both players coming from different directions to get a puck in the corner, Ference hit Grabovski high, causing him to fall to the ice on a play that received no penalty.

This is Ference’s second punishable infraction in a span of 18 months or less, making him a repeat offender given that he was suspended three games last January for his hit on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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League reviews Andrew Ference’s elbow to head of Mikhail Grabovski at 12:16 am ET
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TSN’s Darren Dreger reported following the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Maple Leafs that the league has reviewed Andrew Ference‘s elbow to the head of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski.

As the video below will show, both players were going after a puck in the corner from different directions during a Maple Leafs power play when the B’s defenseman caught Grabovski with a high elbow. When asked about the hit following the game, Ference said he didn’t recall the play. His coach didn’t offer much either.

“I haven’t seen it,” Claude Julien said. “I can’t comment on that.”

Ference was suspended for three games last January for his hit on Ryan McDonagh, which would put him in the repeat offender category given that his last suspension was within 18 months.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Mikhail Grabovski,
Bruins humbled by experience with first responders 04.18.13 at 3:05 pm ET
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The Bruins welcomed first responders at Wednesday's game. (AP)

WILMINGTON — When the Bruins hosted 80 first-responders at Wednesday’s game, they thought they were simply providing a nice gesture as a way of thanking the brave bunch for all they had done for the city during Monday’s horrific events. They didn’t think they were making anybody’s day, but they were.

In meeting with the first-responders following their 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres Wednesday, the Bruins were overwhelmed by their experience with the heroes and how proud they were to meet the B’s.

“They were very, very happy and excited that they came to the game and they really showed a lot of respect,” Brad Marchand said Thursday. “It was funny — not funny, but a different feeling because they were thanking us when really we wanted to thank them for everything that they did for our city and for us and for everyone who was involved. It was honor meeting them and being able to meet those guys and hear their stories of how courageous they were in a moment like that.”

Marchand said it was more of an honor for the Bruins to spend time with the heroes than the other way around, but to be able to give them something to be smile about was touching for the players.

“They really expressed last night how big it was for them to come to the game and how excited they were from the moment they heard they were coming,” Marchand said. “Some of the guys were telling us how they found out and just how excited they were all day long or the day before, and it was all they could think about. They said that’s what they needed to kind of get their mind off things. They saw a lot of stuff. To be able to give that to them for them to enjoy and look forward to watching us play and just a few hours to watch us play and enjoy something, it’s huge for us. We take a lot of pride in that. Obviously, those guys are heroes and we look up to them. They did some courageous and amazing things. We owe them a lot.”

After the game, Andrew Ference and some other players took the first-responders out for beers as a way of further thanking them for everything they had done. Though Dennis Seidenberg didn’t join them (his children had to get up early), he wasn’t surprised to see how much the night meant to both sides.

“It’s a great sports town, Boston is,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “People are very emotional about their sports. When you have a chance to give them the opportunity to come to a game and get their mind off what happened, it’s easy for us to do and something nice also.”

Read More: Andrew Ference, Brad Marchand, Dennis Seidenberg,
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