It took two months of the season, but the Bruins finally make their first trip to Toronto on Saturday night.
The clash between Original Six rivals is usually worth the wait, but this one is particularly special for a few Bruins.
Marc Savard made his long-awaited return from post-concussion syndrome on Thursday, playing before the home folks at the Garden against Tampa Bay. But now he gets to literally go home, and the Peterborough, Ontario native was looking forward to seeing his family again, then having them get to finally see him play once more.
"I think it's special," said Savard before leaving on Friday. "I have a lot of friends and family there. It's going to be emotional too after the game when I see them. I'm going to try to go out and play hard and worry about what I have to do on the ice, then enjoy my time with them after."
Saturday's clash with the Leafs wasn't the only game Savard was looking forward to on this trip though. He was equally excited about having a chance to watch his son, Tyler, 7, play in a tournament just outside the city on Friday.
"I'm going to have a lot of people there so it's going to be exciting for sure," said Savard. "I'm going to have my kids there. My son has a tournament in Brampton so I'm going to get a chance to watch him right after we land [on Friday]. And they'll be there to watch me the next night."
Savard will also get to enjoy some time with his son Zachary and daughter Isabella as well as the rest of his family, though his wallet might not enjoy the hit it takes with the costs of tickets in Toronto.
"It's going to be special, and especially expensive too," said Savard. "But it's nice to have it this way. I get to get a game in here [in Boston], then go up there."
Rookie Tyler Seguin can appreciate that. He's from Brampton, the same suburb where Savard's son — and Seguin's namesake — was scheduled to play on Friday. This will be Seguin's first game at Air Canada Centre, and he's looking forward to the chance to play before his family and friends as well.
"Absolutely, it will be good to see my friends," said Seguin. "Hopefully we get in early and I can scoot on home for dinner. I grew up watching the Leafs on Saturday night so to play in that rink will be pretty special."
Seguin better be getting a good meal out of the deal, as he will be racking up quite a tab as well, as he purchased 18 tickets for family and friends and expected many more to be on hand after buying their own tickets. It was worth it to Seguin though, as his parents last saw him play in person in Boston's home opener on Oct. 21.
Defenseman Adam McQuaid can relate to any nerves Seguin may have playing in his hometown for the first time as a pro. McQuaid made his NHL debut in this building last year just under a year ago on Dec. 19, 2009.
"It couldn't have been on a bigger stage, Toronto was one of the teams that I watched growing up, so it was really cool," said McQuaid, who is from Cornwall, Prince Edward Island. "My family got to go and a lot of family got to watch back home, so it kind of made it that much more special."
McQuaid, who is now a regular on defense after Matt Hunwick was traded to Colorado on Monday, will be a little more confident heading into this matchup.
"It will be a little different," said McQuaid. "I don't think I'll be as nervous as I was last time. That should help a little bit."
While a number of Bruins will be meeting up with family from the Toronto area, there will also be another familiar face to see on the ice. This will be the eighth time the Bruins will take on ex-teammate Phil Kessel since the forward was traded to the Leafs before last season.
The showdown between Kessel and his old club is always a major storyline, especially with Seguin, who was selected with the first of the three draft picks Boston received for Kessel, now in the lineup. But it's become old hat to the players themselves.
"It's always fun," said Savard of playing against his old linemate. "It's getting kind of normal now. I played against him a couple times last year. Now it's just business."