Bruins Dominate Leafs
The Boston Bruins handed the Toronto Maple Leafs their first regulation loss of the season 6-2 Thursday night. The Bruins jumped all over the Leafs in the first period outshooting them 18-7, and leading 3-1 after the opening 20 minutes. Dave Steckel opened the scoring with his first goal as a Maple Leaf, but the Bruins power play struck twice (Nathan Horton with the first and Zdeno Chara blasted the second), before Chris Kelly banged home the third goal for the black and gold. Cody Franson was completely exposed by Kelly on that third goal. The sooner Franson learns to use his size, the sooner he becomes a mainstay in Toronto. The Bruins then put the nail in the coffin with three unanswered goals in the third period (Lucic, Bergeron and Seguin) which prompted the annoying "Thank you Kessel" chants from the Boston faithful. I guess the fans in Boston have recovered from the Red Sox collapse. Mikhail Grabovski scored his second of the year late in the third off of a nice Jake Gardiner feed.
The Leafs had their chances in the second period to come back, but Tim Thomas made some big saves including a breakaway stop on Mikhail Grabovski. Phil Kessel was not the same player he had been in the early part of the season, the Leafs leading scorer was invisible all night. Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin were the Leafs two best forwards tonight. Kadri set up Steckel's goal, and also drew two penalties with his speed and creativity. Frattin was a threat all night, the rookie played his best game of the season. Matthew Lombardi continues to struggle both offensively and on the penalty kill, hopefully he can find his game soon. Luke Schenn had a better night, while Mike Komisarek was a healthy scratch for the first time in his Leaf career. Personally, I would have rather had Komisarek than Franson in the lineup against the bigger Bruins.
Jonas Gustavsson played a solid two periods before the wheels fell off in the third. One may look at this game and say that the team didn't help him much, but he somehow manages to get exposed everytime he's between the pipes. The question needs to be asked, can the Leafs rely on him this season?
Men of the Match
Leafs: Nazem Kadri - He created something offensively almost every shift. Halfway through the second period Ron Wilson began playing him with Grabovski and Frattin and the line looked good. The Bruins defense had a difficult time with the young forward tonight.
Bruins: Zdeno Chara - The reigning Norris winner was a beast tonight. Chara's lethal slapshot provided the Bruins with the first goal of the game, and his second blast was an unstoppable top shelf blast.
The Leafs look to get back on track Saturday night in Montreal. Look for Tim Connolly to make his season debut against the Canadiens