Mike Babcock doesn't seem worried about Boston's “hostile environment”


TD Garden has been a house of playoff horrors for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They blew a 4-3 lead in the third period of Game 7 of last year's first-round playoff matchup, and in 2013 ... well, you know what happened in 2013.

But as the Leafs travel to Boston (again) for Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup, Mike Babcock doesn't want to give Bruins fans too much credit.

"As much as we say it’s a hostile environment, I’ve never seen a fan play yet," the Toronto coach quipped Tuesday about the Garden crowd, via the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan. 

"It’s going to be on the ice, for sure. It’s going to amongst two teams. They know what we’re about and we know what they’re about."

While Babcock can downplay home-ice advantage all he wants, the Garden has given the Bruins a legitimate edge this season. The B's went 29-9-3 in Boston during the 2018-19 campaign -- trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning for the NHL's best home record -- and went 2-0 against the Leafs at home with an 11-4 goal differential.

That's why it was so essential for Boston to finish the season strong and earn the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division, especially after last year's Game 7 home victory over Toronto.

Babcock appears determined to turn the page ahead of Thursday's series opener, though.

"Last year is last year,” Babcock said, via Koshan. “There is no sense spending any time on that. They have a different team, we have a different team."

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