Final, Bruins 1-0: What a difference a couple of nights can make.
Just two nights after their worst defensive effort of the season, the Bruins come up with their best defensive game.
The B’s put a muzzle on the Maple Leafs, and they escape Toronto with the 1-0 win and a couple of hard-earned points. The B’s now get a rare three-day break before they storm Montreal for their first matchup with their bitter rivals on Wednesday.
Third period, 19:28, Bruins 1-0: The Boston penalty kill gets a big break.
The Maple Leafs had pulled James Reimer to make it a 6-on-4, and Chris Kelly’s hustle pays off in a big way. He makes a break on a loose puck going toward the Boston blue line, and it forces Michael Kostka into a tripping penalty.
Toronto takes their timeout.
Third period, 17:35, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will have their work cut out for them in the final moments.
Tyler Seguin gets a questionable slashing penalty called on him, and the Bruins will have to be on the kill for much of the rest of regulation.
Third period, 16:30, Bruins 1-0: Both goalies take turns making some big saves for their respective teams late in the third period.
First it’s Tuukka Rask making a big pad save in traffic with Mikhail Grabovski basically diving in front of the net.
A couple of minutes later, the Bruins’ first line carried the puck into the zone when Milan Lucic dropped one behind him to David Krejci. The center then sent a diagonal pass to Nathan Horton who was skating down the right wing, but James Reimer went to his left to make the pad save.
Third period, 13:40, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins kill off the Dennis Seidenberg penalty with another solid penalty kill.
The faceoff domination came in handy again, and Tuukka Rask made a big save, maybe his biggest of the night. A loose puck came dribbling to Phil Kessel on the left wing, and he one-timed it at Rask, but the Finnish goaltender denied the scoring chance.
Also, give credit to Gregory Campbell who made a diving play to clear the zone at the end of the Toronto power play.
Third period, 11:24, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are going to have to work for this win, and they’re going to have to kill off a penalty in the process.
Dennis Seidenberg just earned himself an interference penalty in an attempt to slow down the Toronto rush in the zone.
Claude Julien didn’t look to be a fan of the call. Go figure.
Third period, 7:30, Bruins 1-0: It’s probably not much of a surprise, but Claude Julien has shortened his bench.
He looks to be going with three lines right now. Chris Bourque is skating on Patrice Bergeron’s line in place of the injured Brad Marchand, while Gregory Campbell is skating with the Chris Kelly line.
Thrid period, 6:17, Bruins 1-0: Claude Julien must be loving this game, especially after seeing his team give up seven goals just a couple of nights ago.
The Bruins aren’t doing much offensively, but they look like the stingy defensive club we’ve come to expect over the years. The missed assignments are no more, the backchecking is there and Boston looks much better with the puck.
However, Julien would be much happier to see his club get a late goal here.
Third period, 2:45, Bruins 1-0: Leo Komarov boarded Johnny Boychuk, which drew the ire of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. The big guy then went after Komarov to give him a piece of his mind and a shove or two.
Komarov gets called for boarding and somehow Chara also gets a penalty, being sent off for roughing.
Third period, 1:11, Bruins 1-0: It looks like the Bruins are going to be down a forward for now at least, as Brad Marchand’s not back out there for the B’s.
He crashed into the boards in the second period, and he went to the locker room. He then returned, skated a shift or two, and then went to the bench, where he remained for the rest of the period. He hasn’t returned from the locker room, and that means more line juggling. Right now it looks like Chris Bourque is skating with the Patrice Bergeron line.
Third period, 0:01, Bruins 1-0: We’re under way in the third period, where the Bruins are looking to cash in on some of these scoring chances to get some insurance.
Second period reaction: The Bruins’ team defense is quickly becoming the story of this game.
The B’s limited the Maple Leafs to just six shots in the second period after allowing seven in the first. That’s because of a renewed commitment (and just as importantly, execution) of the system Boston uses so effectively.
The best example of that came when Johnny Boychuk came sliding across the ice to block a James van Riemsdyk shot from the left wing.
On the other end of the ice, though, James Reimer is having a nice night for himself. He made a couple of big stops in the second period, one robbing Nathan Horton and then another one, a stick save, on Tyler Seguin.
End second period: The second period comes to an end with the same score that the first period concluded with.
The Bruins had their chances in the second period, but James Reimer has stood tall to keep this close.
Second period, 18:11, Bruins 1-0: Brad Marchand left the bench with Gregory Campbell skating on the Patrice Bergeron line. Marchand is back on the bench, but Campbell is still on the ice with the Bergeron line.
Second period, 15:21, Bruins 1-0: If you buy into the idea that Lane MacDermid has replaced Shawn Thornton in the lineup while the B’s enforcer is out with a concussion, you have to think that No. 22 is pretty proud of his understudy.
MacDermid just got into this second fight of the evening, once again with Mark Fraser. The young Bruin dropped Fraser with a big right hand. Fraser appeared to take exception to a big hit from MacDermid on Phil Kessel in the neutral zone.
Second period, 11:48, Bruins 1-0: Milan Lucic just showed off his impressive strength, and it almost led to a Bruins goal.
The big forward carried the puck into the zone and into the slot before shoveling a backhanded pass to Nathan Horton on his left. Horton one-timed it on Reimer, but the goalie went to his right and made the save.
Following the save, though, Dion Phaneuf attempted to clear the puck and send it over the glass for a delay of game penalty.
Second period, 10:07, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins’ line of Patrice Beregron, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin has turned it on in the second period.
First it was the disallowed goal. They followed that up a couple of shifts later with some sustained pressure in the Toronto end. Patrice Bergeron had a near scoring chance when Tyler Seguin made a nice pass from below the right faceoff circle to Bergeron who was in the middle of the left dot. However, Bergeron was slowed by a defenseman and couldn’t get much of a shot off. The puck kind of dribbled on net, and James Reimer covered it up.
Second period, 9:26, Bruins 1-0: And Brad Marchand returns to the ice. I don’t think he even missed a shift.
Second period, 7:00, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins looked to have scored their second goal, when a puck thrown on net by Patrice Bergeron appeared to deflect off of Tyler Seguin before trickling into the net.
However, the play was waved off because of what was deemed incidental contact with the goaltender. Sound familiar? It was the same thing that happened to the Leafs in the first period, of course, and now the Bruins are on the other end of it.
Brad Marchand took a mighty stumble into the boards as he skated behind the net on the play. He went down the tunnel following the play.
Second period, 6:18, Bruins 1-0: The revamped fourth line gets a chance to put one home, but they can’t quite finish the play.
Jamie Tardif flipped one on net from the right wing that James Reimer turned away with his right pad, but Lane MacDermid was right there crashing the net from the off-wing. However, MacDermid couldn’t quite control the rebound.
A couple of minutes later, Phil Kessel almost made his former team pay. He was able to sneak in down the right side and get a shot off from just inside the faceoff circle that actually beat Tuukka Rask, but it hit the post and deflected out of play.
Second period, 3:47, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins killed off the Chris Kelly penalty, but the Maple Leafs did have Boston back on its heels some.
Second period, 0:01, Bruins 1-0: The second period is under way, with the Bruins forced to attempt to kill the final 1:56 of Chris Kelly’s penalty.
First period reaction: There has to be some sighs of relief in the Bruins locker room after the first period in Toronto.
One of those likely comes from Claude Julien. While he’s surely preaching the need to continue to play Bruins hockey, the head coach has to be happy with his team’s effort in the first. The Bruins looked much improved in all three zones, especially the defensive zone, which will delight Julien.
There also has to be some relief for Chris Bourque. He finally gets his first goal in the Black and Gold, and it was his first since Dec. 30, 2008. Bourque did a great job of driving to the net, and Chris Kelly made an incredible backhanded pass to Bourque that he slammed home. He even gave a Ray Bourque-like fist pump that must have had Bruins fans all over New England reminiscing about No. 77.
“Honestly, I’m just happy to contribute,” Bourque told Naoko Funayama during the intermission. “Kelly and Pevs [Rich Peverley] made a helluva play and I just drove the net and put it in the open net.”
It’s obvious that Bourque took his healthy scratch Thursday the right way, too.
“When you get to watch it up high in the press box, you get to see that you have more time. And I had a good talk with the coaches and what they expect of me. All in all, it was a good learning experience and hopefully I can keep it going. ”
It was also a solid first period for David Krejci. He set up teammates on more than one occasion, and he looked strong going into the greasy areas of the rink.
End first period, Bruins 1-0: The first period comes to an end with some pushing and shoving after the play.
It looked like James van Riemsdyk gave Gregory Campbell a late shoulder on the glass, and Campbell and a couple of his teammates took exception. Just some pushing and shoving, though, not much more.
The Bruins have to be much, much happier with that showing than what they showed in the final 20 on Thursday.
We’ll break it down in a few.
First period, 19:56, Bruins 1-0: Chris Kelly gets called for a hooking penalty with just 4 seconds remaining in the period.
First period, 18:23, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins get another scoring chance when David Krejci makes a pretty pass to Adam McQuaid who jumped into the rush and barreled down the slot.
His shot was stopped by Reimer, before it trickled by the net to the goaltender’s right.
McQuaid then got another shot later in the shift, but Reimer turned that away as well.
First period, 14:41, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are starting to skate with more confidence, and as a result, they’re upping the pressure in the offensive end.
We just saw a good example of that with Dougie Hamilton and Brad Marchand. Hamilton carried the puck all the way down to the goal line on the right wall, with Marchand cycling to the top to fill the hole. Hamilton then skated back toward the point, with Marchand skating toward the zone. Hamilton dished it to Machand and the forward fired a shot from the slot, but James Reimer makes the save.
First period, 11:32, Bruins 1-0: The Maple Leafs looked to have scored the game-tying goal, but a questionable call waves it off.
Nazem Kadri (sort of) bumped Tuukka Rask in front of the net, and that took Rask out of position as a slap shot from the point went whizzing by him into the net.
However, the referee on the goal line quickly waved it off, ruling that Kadri’s bump of Rask negated the goal.
First period, 8:54, Bruins 1-0: Chris Bourque is finally on the board for the Bruins.
The winger did a great job of skating his lane and going straight to the net, and Chris Kelly rewards him. Kelly flipped a soft backhanded pass across the line where Bourque slammed it home before toppling into the crossbar.
It’s Bourque’s second career goal, and his first since Dec. 30, 2008.
That’s a good sign for Bourque, who is coming off of being a healthy scratch Thursday night against Buffalo.
First period, 6:55, 0-0: So far, not much going on outside of the early fight.
The Bruins did a good job of coming out and taking the attack to the Leafs, though. The B’s already have five shots on goal, all of which have been turned away. That means James Reimer has more saves in this one than he did in that March 19 loss last season, in which he made just four saves on nine shots in Boston’s 8-0 win.
Toronto withstood a couple of good shifts from the Bruins in the early minutes, and they’ve countered with some offensive-zone play of their own.
Dougie Hamilton just did a nice job of breaking up a rush down the left wing from, of course, Phil Kessel. Perhaps you’ve heard about the trade that landed the former in Boston and the latter in Toronto.
First period, 2:42, 0-0: Lane MacDermid and Mark Fraser try to get their teams going early when MacDermid seeks out Fraser after losing his stick.
The two go at it in a good fight that lasted about 30 seconds with both getting a couple of solid shots in. You probably give Fraser the win in that one, thanks to a late takedown.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: Things are under way at Air Canada Centre between the Bruins and Maple Leafs.
Thanks for taking some time out of your Saturday night to join us. Let’s go.
7:07 p.m.: It’s Hockey Night in Canada, so this game won’t get under way for another 10 minutes or so.
So grab your drink of choice, put your feet up and get comfortable for hockey.
6:49 p.m.: Here are the likely Bruins lines and defensive pairings.
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Lane MacDermid-Gregory Campbell-Jame Tardif
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
6:25 p.m.: It will be pretty cool to see Jamie Tardif make his NHL debut Saturday night after paying his share of dues in the AHL for the better part of a decade.
Making it even cooler is the fact that Tardif is from Welland, Ont., which is just an hour-and-a-half drive from Toronto.
He’s not the only one making a homecoming, either. Dougie Hamilton will make his first NHL stop in Toronto, the city he was born in. Tyler Seguin is also coming home, as he’s a native of nearby Brampton.
Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell also hail from Welland, while Chris Kelly (Toronto), Rich Peverley (Kingston) and Gregory Campbell (London) are all about two hours or closer to Toronto.
5:25 p.m.: With about an hour and a half until this one gets going, let’s take a look back at last year’s meeting between these two clubs.
As we stated earlier, the Bruins absolutely dominated the season series with the Maple Leafs last year. Boston went 6-0-0 against Toronto, outscoring the Leafs 36-10.
I spent time earlier looking back at those games, and a couple of things stood out.
First, was the dominance of the Bruins’ power play in those games. Usually the words “Bruins power play” and “dominance” don’t go in the same sentence, but nobody told the Leafs that last year. Boston scored six power-play goals against Toronto, which accounted for 14 percent of their power-play goals on the entire year. They actually almost had seven. Benoit Pouliot scored a goal in the Bruins’ 6-3 win on Nov. 30, but that came just a second or two after a power play expired. The B’s are trailing last year’s power-play pace, so maybe this is just what the doctor ordered. The Leafs have already allowed five power-play goals this season.
Moving on, there’s no denying how dominant Tyler Seguin was against the team that could have drafted him, had it not been for that whole Phil Kessel trade. Seguin scored seven goals and added four assists in those six games against Toronto last season, including his first career hat trick on Nov. 5. He’s yet to really get things going this year, so maybe a return home to Ontario can jump-start him this season.
Finally, it looks like James Reimer will get the start for the Maple Leafs in net. He started the final game between these two teams last season, and it did not go very well whatsoever. Reimer was torched for five goals on just nine shots in what turned into an 8-0 win for the Bruins.
2:45 p.m.: It looks like Tuukka Rask will be the starting goalie for the Bruins on Saturday night. Rask was the first goaltender off the ice at morning skate, according to the Bruins’ Twitter account.
James Reimer will be the starting goaltender for the Leafs.
8a.m. ET: The Bruins were horrible defensively on Thursday night against Buffalo, and they’ll get their first chance to rectify that on Saturday night against another division rival.
The B’s look to put the 7-4 loss to the Sabres behind them when they travel north to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs.
Claude Julien was disgusted with the way his team played defensively in the loss to Buffalo, and you have to imagine the B’s will come out with a much better effort on Saturday night. They’re going to be shorthanded in doing so, though. Shawn Thornton is out for 7-10 days after suffering a concussion as a result of his first-period fight with John Scott on Thursday. Another usual member of the fourth line, Daniel Paille, will also be out with an upper-body injury.
That means even more line juggling for Julien who had put Paille on the third line in favor of Chris Bourque, who was a healthy scratch Thursday. The Bruins have called on Jamie Tardif from Providence for the Saturday night tilt, and it also means that Lane MacDermid will see action again after being recalled for what was expected to be a physical matchup with the Sabres.
As it was for Buffalo on Thursday, this one will be important for a Toronto team looking to really build some momentum. They enter the first matchup of the season between the two Original Six rivals with a 4-3-0 record, having won two in a row.
The Leafs are also looking to exact some revenge after the Bruins had their way with Toronto last season. Boston won all six meetings between the two teams, outscoring them 36-10.
Puck drop for the Hockey Night in Canada matchup at the Air Canada Centre is slated for 7 p.m.