Phil Kessel Finally Breaks Through Against Bruins, Helps Lead Leafs to Win at Garden


February 15, 2011

Final, Maple Leafs 4-3: And that does it, as Toronto holds on for the 4-3 win, handing the Bruins their third straight regulation loss for the first time this season.

Phil Kessel finally scored against his old club, then scored again to tie it in the third before Mikhail Grabovski's second goal of the night won it with 1:01 left.

Both of Kessel's goals came on the power play, and he did finish a minus-2 on the night to fall to minus-21 on the season. That's little consolation for the Bruins, who are now about to embark on a season-high six-game road trip that starts Thursday at on Long Island against the Islanders.

Third Period, 18:59, Leafs 4-3: The Leafs pull ahead on a great individual play by Mikhail Grabovski, who goes coast to coast, weaving around Dennis Seidenberg and beating Thomas top shelf from the left circle.

Third Period, 16:14, 3-3: The Bruins can't convert on the man-advantage and this one stays tied as we head to the final minutes of regulation.

Third Period, 14:14, 3-3: The Bruins have a chance to get that one right back as Boston goes on the power play with Keith Aulie sent off for hooking.

Third Period, 13:27, 3-3: Phil Kessel does it around, breaking in down the left wing around Andrew Ference and tucking it by Thomas to tie it again with a power-play strike,

It's his second of the night after not scoring any goals in his first nine games against the Bruins.

Third Period, 13:09, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins now find themselves shorthanded, as Dennis Seidenberg is sent off for cross-checking.

Third Period, 12:30, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins with a golden chance to extend the lead as Ryder gets a loose puck in front, but is denied, and Krejci's rebound attempt goes wide.

Third Period, 9:08, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins take the lead as Patrice Bergeron scores a second-effort goal in front.

Adam McQuaid sent the shot in from the right point and Bergeron, after fanning on his first attempt at the rebound, shoveled it home as he was being buried by Phaneuf.

Third Period, 7:25, 2-2: Chara delivers the big hit on Phaneuf down low in front of the Bruins net.

Third Period, 4:21, 2-2: The Leafs are all ove the Bruins here, with Kessel coming within inches of his second goal as he rings the far post from the right circle, one of many dangerous chances for Toronto in that sequence.

Third Period, 2:18, 2-2: The Bruins with some pressure there, as Ryder drives hard to the net and Seguin tries to follow it up, but Reimer shuts the door.

Third Period, 0:00, 2-2: The final frame is under way at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to snap their two-game losing streak with a strong final period.

Brick's Keys to the Third: Just spent a few minutes with NESN analyst Andy Brickley to get his take on what we've seen so far and what the Bruins need to do to pull this one out in the third.

Here's Brick's take:

"I really like what they've done on the power play, even before they scored that goal. After that first power play, I really felt they would score on the power play tonight. Toronto's penalty kill is not too strong. I had a good feeling the Bruins could get a goal there, the only question was how would they get more chances on the man-advantage. It all comes down to better skating, better puck management and taking the play to Toronto.

"That's the whole concept they need to carry into the third. They've lost two in a row, three of their last four and they're 5-5 in their last 10. They need to get back to basics, back to the meat and potatoes of their game, and that's good team defense, penalty killing and good goaltending. And it all starts with a win tonight. I don't care what it looks like, how ugly it is. They just have to find a way to win and win in regulation. They have to put those losses to Detroit in the rear-view mirror and focus on what they have to do over these next 20 minutes to get that win."

End Second Period, 2-2: The Bruins came up with the goal they needed to tie it late in the second, now they'll try to take that momentum into the third with the game deadlocked at 2-2.

Phil Kessel Finally Breaks Through Against Bruins, Helps Lead Leafs to Win at Garden

Second Period, 18:34, 2-2: The Bruins finally strike on the power play to tie it up as Greg Campbell bangs home a rebound from the top of the crease.

Once again, the power-play chance was credited off the rush rather than a set play, with Brad Marchand sending in the initial shot while being hit in front, and Campbell chipping in the rebound. The goal stood after a review.

Second Period, 16:44, Maple Leafs 2-1: The Bruins are back on the power play yet again, this time for a high stick by Grabovski on Krejci, which drew the ire of Mark Stuart, among others.

Second Period, 14:26, Maple Leafs 2-1: The Bruins did get set up for some chances in the zone in the first half of the power play this time, but the second half was a mess with the Bruins struggling to maintain possession.

Second Period, 12:26, Maple Leafs 2-1: The Bruins get another chance on the power play as Keith Aulie is sent off for interference for a hit on Tyler Seguin in front of the net.

Seguin had a strong shift there with Wheeler and Thornton, who was caught out on a line change.

Second Period, 10:37, Maple Leafs 2-1: The Bruins created some chances in transition on the man-advantage, but weren't able to do much in terms of setting up any plays with possession in the Toronto zone as the Leafs kill off that chance.

Second Period, 8:37, Maple Leafs 2-1: The Bruins can't cash in on a chance in front by Lucic off a sweet feed by Krejci, but Dion Phaneuf does get called for slashing to give the Bruins their first power play of the night.

Second Period, 4:35, Maple Leafs 2-1: The Leafs take the lead as Mikhail Grabovski scores from the right slot.

Carl Gunnarsson sent the initial shot in from the point, but it hit off Kampfer in front right to Grabovski, who flipped it into the open net with Thomas down and out.

Second Period, 3:10, 1-1: The Leafs are picking up the physical play, with Komisarek nailing Recchi at the blue line and now Luke Schenn belting Michael Ryder.

Second Period, 1:26, 1-1: Thomas makes a glove save as Nikolai Kulemin crashes the net. Thomas looks none too pleased about the invasion of his space.

Second Period, 0:00, 1-1: The middle frame is under way here at the Garden, with both teams looking to break this 1-1 stalemate.

First Intermission Notes: Solid start for the Bruins, but their play fell off a bit at the end of the period and some penalty trouble allowed Toronto to tie it.

Zdeno Chara's boarding call though was pretty dubious. Looked like more of a reaction to Chara's size and Mikhail Grabovski appearing injured on the play as he went headfirst into the boards, but he put himself in that position by lunging forward and there wasn't anything else Chara could have done on that play.

It took him 10 games, but Phil Kessel finally scored against the Bruins. He also avoids matching a career-high goal drought as he scores for the first time in 15 games. It was on the power play though, and he was also on the ice for Boston's goal, so Kessel is still a minus-1 for the night and a minus-20 on the season.

Tomas Kaberle has no stats of note in 12 shifts covering 7:12 in the first. On the Bruins' defense, Steven Kampfer (7:32) and Adam McQuaid (5:44) also have no shots, hits or blocked shots, while Mark Stuart is playing a very aggressive game with three hits, an assist and a plus-1 in 5:28. He's been far more active offensively then usual, pinching in deep several times, including the play that led to Boston's goal.

End First Period, 1-1: The opening 20 minutes come to a close with it all even at 1-1 at the Garden.

First Period, 17:22, 1-1: The Leafs strike as Phil Kessel finally scores his first goal against his old club in his 10th game against Boston.

That's his first goal in 15 games as he bats in a rebound out of midair at the left post.

First Period, 17:17, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins get called for another penalty on a dubious call on Chara. He took Mikhail Grabovski hard into teh boards and is called for boarding on what appeared a clean hit.

First Period, 15:18, Bruins 1-0: The Leafs get the fist power-play chance of the night as David Krejci is called for hooking.

First Period, 13:34, Bruins 1-0: Kaberle with a little shove on Wheeler behind the net. Play nice Tomas, you guys could be teammates someday soon.

First Period, 12:30, Bruins 1-0: Minor malfunction on the scoreboard here, as the shot clock reads 12 for Boston, and Toronto's side in blank. It hasn't been that one-sided so far.

First Period, 8:04, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins strike first, though the puck actually went in courtesy of a Leaf.

Mark Stuart began the play by pinching in deep in the right corner. His centering pass was deflected to Daniel Paille behind the net on the left side. Paille then tried to hit Greg Campbell in front, but the pass hit Mike Komisarek and went in. Paille gets credit for his second goal of teh year, with assists to Stuart and Campbell.

First Period, 6:43, 0-0: Lucic with two more chances, first after stealing the puck from Kessel, then on a rebound at the right post, but that bid was deflected high.

First Period, 4:12, 0-0: Milan Lucic robbed in front by Reimer after a great feed by Krejci to Lucic at the top of the crease.

First Period, 1:44, 0-0: Brief stoppage here as Reimer needs some repairs to his mask.

First Period, 1:10, 0-0: Early action at both ends, with Dion Phaneuf clanging the post on a point shot, then Brad Marchand getting a partial breakaway at the other end.

First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And we're under way at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to avoid losing three straight in regulation for the first time this season.

7 p.m.: Johnny Boychuk is a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

Brett Lebda and Colby Armstrong are out for Toronto.

The Bruins will start Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton up front, Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.

The Leafs counter with Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul up front, Tomas Kaberle and Luke Schenn on the blue line and James Reimer in net. Kessel booed loudly when introduced.

6:45 p.m.: Based on the drills in warm-ups, it appears Johnny Boychuk will be the scratch on defense. he did not skate in the drills.

The pairings there were Zdeno Chara with Steven Kampfer, Dennis Seidenberg with Andrew Ference and Mark Stuart and Adam McQuaid.

Up front, the lines were:





6:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas and James Reimer lead their respective clubs out for warm-ups.

That will be the goaltending matchup in this one.

Tomas Kaberle on the ice for Toronto, so he's still a Leaf for now. All seven defensemen on ice for the Bruins, so no indication yet who will be scratched in this one.

6 p.m.: It's been a crazy day at the Garden already, and the Bruins and Maple Leafs don't even take te ice for another hour.

With Toronto in town, the rumors have been swirling all day about potential deals between the Northeast Division rivals. The Leafs have already been active, making three trades in the past weeks, including a deal sending one-time Bruins prospect Kris Versteeg to Philadelphia on Monday.

As of now, the highly-coveted Tomas Kaberle remains a Leaf, and will be looking to help Toronto beat Boston in this one. But those allegiances could change quickly.

As for Boston's current defense, Steven Kampfer stated after the morning skate that he expects to be back in the lineup. Adam McQuaid is the most likely candidate to sit, but Claude Julien did not announce any final decision in the morning.

8 a.m.: The Bruins continue their tour of the Original Six as they welcome Toronto to the TD Garden on Tuesday.

That comes on the heels of last Wednesday's fight-filled 8-6 win over Montreal and back-to-back losses to Detroit. The Maple Leafs shouldn't pose as much of a challenge, as only four teams in the NHL have fewer points than Toronto's 52.

The Leafs are coming off a 3-0 loss in Montreal on Saturday, and they fell to New Jersey 2-1 in overtime last Thursday. But prior to that they had won four of five, and the Bruins have not had an easy time dispatching their Northeast Division rivals this season.

Boston holds a 2-0-1 record against Toronto this year, but all three games have been close. The Bruins blanked the Leafs 3-0 at the Garden on Oct. 28, fell 3-2 in a shootout in Toronto on Dec. 4 and squeaked out a 2-1 win at the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 8.

The Leafs enter this one shorthanded, with former Bruin winger Colton Orr (concussion), Mike Brown (upper body), Colby Armstrong (blurred vision) and goalie Jonas Gustavsson (minor heart surgery) all sidelined. Toronto has also been busy on the trade front, dealing away veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim and forward Kris Versteeg to Philadelphia.

Still, the rivalry was ratcheted up a few notches last season after the Phil Kessel trade, so expect both teams to be fired up for this one. The Bruins are also desperately clinging to a one-point lead over Montreal for first place in the division. A Bruins loss coupled with a Canadiens win against Buffalo on Tuesday would drop Boston out of the top spot, so they can't afford a slipup against the Leafs.

The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.

Third Period, 0:00, 2-2: The final frame is under way at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to snap their two-game losing streak with a strong final period.
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