What you need to know: Bruins at Maple Leafs | Game 4

TORONTO – Kevin Shattenkirk has won a Stanley Cup and has 88 career playoff games on his resume.

But after missing the playoffs in Anaheim for three straight seasons and his 25-game run to the Cup in 2020 that left Tampa without fans due to the pandemic, the veteran blue liner is making sure he seizes the opportunity in front of him , cherishes.

“I can certainly confirm that. It’s been three seasons since I played in the playoffs again. My chances are definitely getting fewer and fewer,” Shattenkirk said Saturday morning ahead of a crucial Game 4 between the Bruins and Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

“I think what we impress, especially the young guys, is that you never know when your next chance to win a Stanley Cup is going to come. It’s fun. I think we’re really enjoying the moment and having a good time together and enjoying it.

“I think we’re really focused on getting better every game and being grateful for the opportunity.”

On Saturday night, the Bruins have a chance to take a stranglehold on their first-round series against Toronto, as a win would put them ahead 3-1 when they return to Boston.

“We know they’re going to come out with a lot of desperation,” Shattenkirk said. “I think it’s our job to match that and go above and beyond. The way we came out in Game 2 after winning at home was not acceptable. I think we came out slow and tried to get the game back later.

“Credit to them, they knew how important that match was. We don’t intend to make the same mistake tonight. We actually consider every game as a make-or-break. I think we want to treat it that way.

“As series go longer and deeper, it gets harder to win the next game, so it’s going to be a good one tonight.”

Coach Jim Montgomery said he was pleased with the approach his club took during the Saturday morning skate as they settled into what they knew would be a difficult task.

“It’s the hardest part of the series, especially when you have two evenly matched teams. It’s about who can win two in a row, really take control of a series,” said Montgomery. “It hasn’t happened yet, so it’s a tough task. I liked where our team was. I felt like more people were businesslike, like Brad during the morning skate before Game 3.

Montgomery added that despite holding a 2-1 series lead, he believes the Bruins need to improve their 5-on-5 play if they want to maintain their success.

“Probably the area that needs improvement the most,” Montgomery said. “We have to continue to grow and that is the area in the series where we think we can continue to grow. And we have to grow if we want to be successful.

“Continue to get great puck support, create fights and then spend more time in the offensive zone. It’s an area where we need to continue to do that, along with getting more Class A opportunities 5-on-5.”