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Bish's Blog

Game Day: Maple Leafs vs. Bruins

Thursday, 11.06.2008 / 1:08 PM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Game Day: Maple Leafs vs. Bruins
Postgame...
John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
The Maple Leafs ended up leading on the shots side, 36-35.

"Their philosophy is to get pucks on net and give yourself a chance to score," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping (the shots) from the outside and, for the most part, limited their scoring chances."

Tim Thomas was very complimentary of his defense (from the blueline as the forwards), as well.

"We've been doing a great job of it," he said. "Our forwards have been being really responsible."

On Toronto, Thomas said, "They've been making a reputation on comebacks. And you don't want to let them do that. You want to be the team that stops it and (tells) them, 'Not us. Not tonight.'"
---
0:00 - Boston wins. A big win for the Bruins, who really survived a tough third period, but worked through it and earned two very large points against a divisional opponent.

37.1 - Save Thomas. Slashing call on Stuart.

53.3 - Wheeler scores. Hat trick! From beyond the blueline, he finds the vacated Toronto net.  5-2, Bruins.

1:45 - Maybe not. Grabovski scores. A bad bounce at the blueline catches a bunch of Bruins in between and ends up in the net. 4-2, Boston. A very sloppy third period for the Bruins, despite the score.

2:45 - Thornton, who got popped by one of the Leafs, earlier, scored! 4-1, Boston. That should calm things down. Chara scored, unassisted.

4:14 - Another right pad save for Thomas, who is quickly earning a star tonight. Shots are 12-5 Toronto in the third.

4:53 - It looked like at least two more saves for Thomas. He has 29 saves.

5:26 - Another big save by Tim.

6:31 - Hook to Chara.  Five-on-three for Toronto for 1:14.

7:05 - Save Thomas.

7:18 - Savard with a slash. The momentum has really turned toward TO.

7:38 - A big save by Thomas. The Leafs have really come back in the third.

14:44 - Marc Savard makes a tremendous individual effort to take a pass and get the puck deep and then go to the net. No goal, but very strong work.

15:33 - Play is still very sloppy, which favors Toronto.

17:47 - Ugh. An ugly goal for Toronto. No more need be said. 3-1, Toronto. Steen gets credit for the goal.

18:51 - Icing Toronto.

19:49 - Toronto controls the puck and gets it deep into the B's zone. Mitchell (shoulder) and Antropov (foot) are not on the Leafs bench. The word is that they are not coming back.

20:00 - Start of the Third Period. One more goal? A little more focus, too.
---
0:00 - A late shot by Boston bounced around in front, but the score remains, 3-0, Bruins.

1:01 - Chara just checked Mayers into next week. The Leaf looked a little shaky when he got to his feet.

1:35 - The shot total is 26 - 20, Boston. The Leafs have created some chances, but nothing serious in a bit.

2:19 - Boston continues to control the game.  Buuuuut another goal would make everyone more comfortable.

5:42 - Thomas snags another. This one was his toughest of the night, as it handcuffed him deep in his crease.

6:50 - Thomas gloves down Toronto's fifteenth shot. The B's have 25.

13:13 -  Shots are 22-12, Boston. The B's are really controlling the puck. It's early, but Toronto hardly looks engaged.

13:39 - Timmy makes his hardest save of the period. Big Zee cleans house to prevent any further trouble. Just saw a VOTE TIM THOMAS '09  poster. Very cool.

14:42 - Another pretty goal by Wheeler. Marco Sturm bottled the puck up in the Toronto zone, passed to David Krejci who passed back to Sturm who found a waiting Wheeler in front of the net. Blake had TONS of time. 3-0, Boston. Assists to (obviously) Sturm and Krejci.

16:59 - Boston has kept the puck in the Toronto zone for most of the period, thus far. Not too many shots, though.

19:00 - Toskala had to go with a two pad stack to stop an early chance by Bergeron.

19:59 - Toronto wins the draw.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. More of the same, please.
---
0:00 - End of the period. Boston leads, 2-0. The Bruins also lead in shots, 14-10.

1:00 - Ponikarovsky in the box for a high stick. PP number three for the Bruins.

1:22 - Lucic almost tipped one home, but Toskala tracked it down.

3:23 - Too many defensive (and I just don't mean the d-men) breakdowns! Boston is lucky to remain two goals up.

4:50 - Timmy's first big save of the night. The Leafs centered the puck from behind the B's bench. Thomas was on the top of his crease for a positional, but tough, save.

7:04 - Interference on Nokelainen. Toronto's first PP.

9:53 - A little talking and what not between Krejci and Jonas Frogren.

Mark Stuart vs. Jason Blake.
10:17 - Stuart just put Jason Blake over the boards and into the Bruins bench.

12:14 - The new number agrees with Wheels, who scores on a tip of another low shot from Wideman. 2-0, Boston. The B's need to keep the pedal to the metal.

12:20 - Another power play chance for Boston, as Antropov is in the box.

14:04 - Boston had a little trouble setting it up, but a screen by Big Luch and a nice, low, hard shot from Wideman from the point does the trick. 1-0, Boston. Power play goal.

Give the official assists to Ference and Wideman and an unofficial one to Milan, who parked himself right in front of Toskala.

It was Andrew Ference's 100th assist of his career.

16:03 - Antropov just took a solid shot (from a puck) to the knee.

Ponikarovsky is in the box for TO on an interference call.

16:52 - Offsides Boston. Not much to speak of, hockey-wise, yet.

17:40 - Moore (of the Harvard Moore's) has Toronto's first shot.

18:51 - Boston just got it's first shot of the game.

19:56 - Toronto wins the opening draw.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. The Bruins were looking for a quick start, this morning.

Starters for Boston: Lucic, Savard, Kessel, Chara, Ward, Thomas
Starters for Toronto: Ponikarovsky, Stajan, Antropov, Finger, Schenn, Toskala

Switching to time on the clock...

6:38 p.m.
The Bruins look like this:

Axelsson - Bergeron - Ryder
Lucic - Savard-  Kessel
Sturm - Krejci - Wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hunwick
Thomas
Fernandez

Scratches:
Hnidy, Kobasew

TSN.ca predicts the Leafs lines, thusly...
Ponikarovsky - Stajan - Antropov
Hagman - Grabovski - Kulemin
White - Mitchell - Steen
Mayers - Moore - Blake
Finger - Schenn
Kaberle - Kubina
Frogren - Van Ryn
Toskala
Joseph


6:30 p.m.
Thomas led the Bruins out of the cave. Toskala led the leafs.


6:22 p.m.

Just got a nice tip. NHL.com recently published a podcast from Doc Emrick's "Doc's Classic NHL" series. Today's particular episode is about Gerry Cheevers' unique hockey masks.

Listen in while we wait for the puck to drop.

 Doc's Classic NHL 11/05/08 


5:51 p.m.
Pressbox Notes...
  • Tonight’s game is game number two of a three-game homestand for the Bruins, hosting the Stars on Saturday, November 1, the Maple Leafs tonight and the Sabres on Saturday, November 8.  The B’s played 11 games in October, eight of which were on the road.  In November, the club has 13 games scheduled with eight being played at the TD Banknorth Garden.
  • Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is expected to make his fifth straight start tonight.  Thomas is currently second in the league in goals against average (1.83), first in save percentage (.944) and is tied for second in shutouts with two.
  • Bruins center Marc Savard enters tonight’s game riding a five-game assist streak (0-6-6 totals).
  • Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is playing in his 700th NHL game tonight.
  • The Maple Leafs currently lead the NHL in blocked shots with 217 in 13 games.  Pittsburgh ranks second in blocked shots with 207 in 12 games.
  • Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski has tallied two goals in each of his last two games (4-1-5 totals) while defenseman Tomas Kaberle has five assists in his last four games.


5:16 p.m.
When 42 is actually 26...
Blake Wheeler has changed his number from 42 to 26, folks. However, the number 26 was actually Phil Kessel's number in college by the way, so we'll have to ask Wheels where that came from. FYI: Wheeler was 17 at "The U."

As far as playing Toronto, Wheels said that the team is ready.

“(Coach Julien) has been saying the same things as the first time we played the Leafs, and I guess we didn’t listen as thoroughly as we should," said Wheeler. "Going through that first experience, we didn’t have that success we wanted to, we had that letdown.

"I think everyone knows what they’re capable of and knows that if we don’t bring it for 60 minutes it’s going to be a real tough way to get a win -- so we have a lot of respect for them."

And with the Leafs being in the Northeast Division, there's even more at stake.

"This is only my second time playing them, so it’s still fresh in my mind," said Wheeler of the last meeting. "Every team is pretty much the same for me, I just have to go out and try to outwork the next guy in line.

"I think that’s the mentality we have in this room, especially with Toronto.

"They’ve had success all year, and they outworked us one time, and we don’t want to let it happen again."

Wheeler talked about having confidence.

"I think the confidence level is back where it was or where it should be," he said.  "It’s real tough in this league when you have a setback and then you just have to fight your way through it.

"I remember a down game in Ottawa, and then it took us a couple games to get back to where we wanted to be.

"The biggest thing in this game, in all sports, is confidence and when you’re going out there feeling good about yourself and making plays and being able to do the things you’re able to do, the game becomes a lot easier."


3:44 p.m.
Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
Thorton's Vlog
Today, Shawn Thornton returns to Bruins TV with a report from the locker room and some thoughts on playing agains the Leafs.

Click the pic to play...

Huds is ready
Looking at Matt Hunwick, you could not tell that the rookie defenseman was going to be in the lineup versus the Maple Leaf -- he looked pretty calm about the whole thing -- but the former captain of the Michigan Wolverines certainly understands what is expected of him tonight.

"It’s good we had a couple practices here the past two days to kind of get back in the flow of game speed," he said. "I’m just hoping it carries over tonight."

Tonight, Hunwick plans to focus on the basics of the game.

"I think just keeping the play simple and being consistent shift to shift," said the D-man. "I want to be a player who can be trusted out on the ice, and for that to happen, I have to be good every shift I go out.

"That’s something I’ll focus on tonight, especially coming back after a little bit of a layoff."

Hunwick, who has been the seventh defenseman for most of October, understands his role.

"I think you sort of get used to it after a couple of games," he said. "But you always have to be ready; you have to be mentally prepared for each game.

"Sometimes that becomes a little (hard), because you are getting ready for each game, and when you find out you’re not in the lineup, it’s always difficult."

Matt's not alone in that -- everyone in a hockey locker room wants to play -- but it's Hunwick's attitude that will ultimately lead to whatever success he has going forward.

Clearly, he's worked hard to be in the NHL and wants to show that he belongs.

"I think I’ve done a pretty good job staying in shape," said the blueliner. "Now it’s just about being mentally sharp when I get out there."


3:10 p.m.

Obviously, tonight marks a return to Northeast Division action for the Bruins.

Yesterday, NHL.com's John McGourty wrote about the "Mighty Northeast Division" in his column:

Looking at the current NHL landscape, the Northeast has 4 of the top 8 teams in the Eastern Conference -- No. 2 Buffalo, No. 4 Montreal, No. 5 Boston and No. 8 Toronto -- and 3 of the top 10 teams in the NHL -- Buffalo, Montreal and Boston. More...

Overnight, Boston slipped to sixth in the Eastern Conferecne, but eighth place TO can overtake the B's with a win.


12:18 p.m.

The Leafs are in town and this morning the Bruins held their usual pregame skate.

Storylines…
  • Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was first off the ice and should be in net tonight.
  • Forward Chuck Kobasew and defenseman Shane Hnidy remain day-to-day. Coach Julien said, “With Chuck, he feels good, his conditioning is pretty well there, and maybe just timing on the other part of the game that maybe could use a couple more days…Hnidy’s just a day-to-day. Just a lower body injury that requires day-to-day maintenance, and hopefully he’ll be back very soon.”
  • The Bruins will look to correct some of the issues they had against the Buds last time out. “They’ve caught teams off guard,” said Coach Julien. “And I think teams that are smart enough will realize now that they come out hard and compete and they believe in themselves, and that’s something that’s really important.  More than what you’ve got on paper is what shows up on the ice.”
  • Defenseman Matt Hunwick will play. “It’s obviously a different mindset (in a game),” said Hunwick of the transition from playing mostly during practice to a game. “During practice you try and battle as hard as you can, but at the same time it’s your teammates…tonight’s game, I want to get back to being physical, and getting the timing down.”
More in a bit. JB

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 23 16 6 1 61 57 33
2 TBL 22 14 6 2 77 60 30
3 DET 21 11 5 5 59 52 27
4 BOS 23 13 9 1 59 57 27
5 TOR 21 11 8 2 67 63 24
6 OTT 20 9 7 4 55 54 22
7 FLA 19 7 6 6 41 51 20
8 BUF 21 6 13 2 36 70 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 23 5 11 -2 16
C. Soderberg 23 5 10 2 15
D. Hamilton 23 4 8 2 12
L. Eriksson 23 3 9 5 12
B. Marchand 20 5 6 4 11
M. Lucic 23 4 7 3 11
R. Smith 23 4 6 -1 10
D. Krejci 11 3 7 4 10
C. Kelly 21 2 6 4 8
S. Griffith 18 5 2 -1 7
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 10 6 1 .915 2.40
N. Svedberg 3 3 0 .913 2.46
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