By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
On the hands of a devastating 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers earlier in the week, the Boston Bruins are coming in tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs before another game tomorrow against the Washington Capitals in hopes of ending their current four-game losing skid.
For Toronto, they are coming into the game losing each of their last two meetings with a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders fresh in their mind only two nights ago. Toronto will be without forward Mitch Marner and Alexander Kerfoot due to injuries that will keep them out for the next few weeks. The Leafs are currently out of a playoff spot and will look to rebound here tonight against their biggest rival.
Tonight, the six most-recent inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame will be present in the stands as the NHL celebrates it’s annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Home: Toronto Maple Leafs (9-7-4)
Away: Boston Bruins (11-3-4)
Last Bruins Result: 5-4 SO loss vs FLA
BOS: Tuukka Rask 7-2-2 2.16 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 SO loss to FLA
TOR: Frederik Andersen 9-3-3 2.72 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 loss to NYI
Bruins Gameday Lineup:
Bruins forwards Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn, Brett Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman, and David Backes are all out with injuries while defensemen Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, and John Moore remain out of the gameday lineup. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Thursday that Brett Ritchie is the only one that has a chance to play tomorrow against the Capitals.
Following a great ceremony to honor the Hall of Fame inductees, the two teams get underway. In the opening five minutes or so, the Bruins had the better of the puck possession even though the Leafs took an early lead in the shot department. Just about seven minutes in, Andreas Johnsson manages to get around Charlie McAvoy for a partial breakaway, but Rask makes the pad stop. Less than a minute after, Pastrnak gets a brilliant chance right in front of the net but is robbed by Andersen – we got a game ladies and gentlemen.
Halfway through the opening frame, both teams are going back-and-forth still. The puck seems to be taking bounces and deflections off of bodies on either side of the ice and the physicality is through the roof. Chris Wagner landed a big hit on Trevor Moore in the neutral zone and Trent Frederic has landed numerous hits of his own already. Connor Clifton too:
With about seven minutes left in the period, the Maple Leafs get the best few chances of the game so far with a couple really close shots that were towards an open Bruins net but the shot either missed or was blocked by a Bruin in front. Boston manages to recover and get it out of the zone.
Right after that, Matt Grzelcyk had the puck behind Frederik Andersen and makes a slick pass to Charlie Coyle who was open in that bumper spot that Patrice Bergeron has had success in and buries the game’s first goal, 1-0 Bruins. Great sequence from Boston who dealt with the onslaught of Toronto for a few minutes to bring the play right-back against a tired Leafs line and capitalize, taking some momentum away from the home Toronto crowd.
With 5:51 remaining in the first, the Bruins take the first penalty of the game as David Pastrnak gets sent to the box for two minutes for interference. Toronto needs a tying goal here on the power-play before the buzzer sounds. However, Boston says no to that idea and make a strong kill, back to five-on-five. Leafs fail to get even a single shot on the man-advantage.
3:23 shows on the score clock in the Scotiabank Arena and the Toronto Maple Leafs take their first penalty. Nic Shore gets called on a holding minor. Unlike the Bruins, they struggle to get any momentum at all on the power-play and just looked out of sorts, failing to move the puck around enough and the Maple Leafs successfully kill it off late in this period.
The first period ends after a couple icings by the B’s. Fairly competitive twenty minutes of hockey that sees Boston holding a one-to-nothing lead over Toronto. Solid two-way hockey and much of the same is needed for a full 60-minutes.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 TOR: 8
Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Coyle (3) Assists: Grzelcyk (4), Bjork (1)
Again in the opening minutes of the period, the Bruins are showing really good focus and confidence in their game and it has been working out well. Patrice Bergeron has been fantastic on the defensive side of the puck and after each whistle, there seems to be more and more shoving. Tensions are running high as usual with Boston and Toronto.
Toronto is still getting their brief moments of attacks as they have become known for in the past few seasons, but Tuukka Rask has done his job in between the pipes with some big saves. Rask hasn’t been great as of late but looks dialed in thus far.
As Toronto builds momentum, they manage to cycle the puck from behind the Bruins net to Jake Muzzin who one-times it towards the net. Auston Matthews gets his stick on the puck, deflecting it past Tuukka Rask. The on-ice officials reviewed the play for a potential high-stick on the deflection, but after a short review, the goal stands and the Maple Leafs officially ties the game at one.
Boston has a great chance to sway the momentum back to them immediately after the tying marker after a brutal hit by Charlie McAvoy that resulted in a breakaway for Sean Kuraly only moments later. However, Kuraly tries too hard to find a corner on Frederik Andersen and ends up missing the net high and wide.
Later on in the period, Boston gets their second opportunity on a man-advantage when Andreas Johnsson gets caught tripping Charlie McAvoy near the offensive blueline and he goes to the box for two minutes. Boston gets a few really good shots including a great chance for Bergeron off a rebound chance that hits the outside of the post, penalty comes to an end – back to even-strength.
Within the final few minutes of the middle regulation period, Boston makes a few bad turnovers that leads to a wide-open John Tavares with a chance to snipe one past Rask, but he takes a slash from Bergeron that makes him miss the net. Boston to the penalty-kill again. Tuukka Rask made two key saves on a pair of Matthews one-timers, giving Boston the chance to make the kill and they indeed do, five-on-five once again.
Not nearly as good as a period for Boston, but they manage to make it to the intermission tied at one.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 TOR: 25
Score: 1-1 – Goals: Matthews (14) Assists: Muzzin (8), Nylander (9)
No time wasted. Boston wins the opening faceoff of the period and they bring it in with Brad Marchand. Marchand takes a wrist shot on net and Andersen leaves a rebound right there for Marchand who shoots it again, this time crossing the goal line and the Bruins take a 2-1 lead eleven seconds into the third period of play.
Boston’s lead does not last long as less than four minutes into the third, the Bruins have a terrible miscommunication in their own zone, resulting in Kasperi Kapanen being all alone and he beats Rask with the shot. This hockey game is tied at two goals apiece with sixteen minutes left to play.
That does not last long either, Charlie Coyle works hard along the end boards behind Andersen, feeding Marchand in the slot. Marchand fakes a wrist shot as he gathers the puck, shoots a shot that’s blocked, but gets his own rebound to bury it again. Three goals in 4:57, Bruins score 1:12 after Toronto’s goal, 3-2 Bruins.
The B’s continue their offensive opportunities shortly after the midway mark of the third period as the first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak gets more than one really good chance to score, but Andersen stops it. Boston is putting a lot of shots towards the net, creating rebounds from the puck hitting either Andersen or the traffic in front of the net.
As the game is winding down, the Leafs are clearly trying for a hail mary play to tie this hockey game. They have iced the puck on numerous occasions in hopes of getting a long-distance pass for an odd-man rush. Boston has done a solid job thus far limiting speed in the neutral zone in the final regulation frame.
With 1:30 left to tick away, captain Zdeno Chara buries the empty-net goal to give Boston a two-goal advantage. Leafs captain John Tavares shatters his stick across the post in frustration and Boston will end their four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 34 TOR: 31
Final Score: 4-2 Bruins
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 2 Goals (GWG), 7 Shots, 1 Hit, 18:21 TOI
2nd Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 29 Saves, .935 SV%
3rd Star: BOS F Charlie Coyle – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Shots, 1 Block, 19:13 TOI
Boston is right back at it tomorrow against the Washington Capitals in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins are now 12-3-4 on the season.