Boston Bruins benefitting from Justin Brazeau's Toronto Maple Leafs' motivation

Justin Brazeau, who the Toronto Maple Leafs didn't re-sign after he spent time in the AHL, is using that as motivation in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Bruins are benefitting.
May 6, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Justin Brazeau (55) scores against
May 6, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Justin Brazeau (55) scores against / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Since coming up earlier this season from the Providence Bruins in the AHL, Boston Bruins forward Justin Brazeau has provided a little of everything for coach Jim Montgomery. He brings a much-needed physical presence to the bottom six. Before his injury on April 2 against the Nashville Predators, he turned into a net-front presence on the power play with a pair of man-advantage goals. 

In 19 regular season games, he had five goals and a pair of assists averaging over 11 minutes a night. So far in four playoff games, he has one goal and one assist, but if there is one thing the 26-year-old is doing, he’s taking advantage of an opportunity that his first organization did not.

Justin Brazeau using motivation from the Toronto Maple Leafs this season

It was noted following the 2-1 overtime Game 7 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 4 that Brazeau was thankful to the Maple Leafs organization for giving him his first opportunity by signing him to an undrafted free agent contract. After playing with their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, the organization decided to not extend and keep the 6-foot-5, 220-pound wing.

Against the Maple Leafs in Game 7, he was sent over the boards by Montgomery and his line nearly tied the game after William Nylander gave the visitors a 1-0 lead when his scoring attempt popped just over the net, right before Hampus Lindholm scored to even the score.

Since the playoffs began, Brazeau has had an extra step in his step, and the intimidating forward has used the Maple Leafs not re-signing him as motivation this spring, something the Bruins are benefitting from through four Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"They didn’t want me."

Justin Brazeau speaking about Toronto

Sure, it’s easy to see why Brazeau could use the Maple Leafs basically giving up on him as motivation, but there’s no denying the impact he made Monday night in Game 1 against the Florida Panthers. With Boston nursing a 3-1 lead and being outshot 11-1 early in the period, Brazeau gave the Black and Gold a three-goal cushion when he scored on a breakaway for a 4-1 lead, en route to a 5-1 victory.

Just what the future for Brazeau holds beyond the 2024 playoffs remains to be seen, however, he has been a valuable addition so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a key part of what the Bruins are trying to accomplish.