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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Maybe Someday The Maple Leafs Will Figure Out How To Beat The Bruins Again

I can't imagine what it feels like to be a Maple Leafs fan these days knowing that the Bruins still completely own them. Boston (15-3-3) had lost two in a row while Toronto (15-10-0) had won three straight coming into tonight but none of that seemed to matter since the B's skated home from the TD Garden with a simple 4-2 win. Boston has won eight consecutive games against Toronto-the longest win streak ever for the B's against their Original 6 rival.

Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 2 assists), Tyler Seguin (2 goals, 1 assist) and Brad Marchand (2 assists) continued to carry the Bruins' offense. They have put up 14 goals and 23 assists in the last nine games, I doubt there is any other line in the NHL that can say that. The ironic part is that they are designated as the second line but clearly they've been Boston's best now for at least a season and a half.

Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (4-1-0) continued to be a steady option when Tuukka Rask needs a breather, he made 25 saves for the win. Toronto had played at home against Ottawa last night so they didn't have as much energy as usual (I guess) and their No. 1 goaltender-James Reimer-got the night off. Ben Scrivens made 21 saves but fell to 6-7-0.

Adam McQuaid and Mark Fraser fought 3:23 into the contest as the Leafs tried to exert their will against the Bruins. It was a good fight but that's not the approach I would take against the B's, especially in Boston. If I didn't know any better, I would conclude that the B's were toying with the poor Leafs as they scored a goal in the final two minutes of each period. Bergeron opened the scoring (his 6th of the season) at 19:07 of the first when Seguin drove to the net which made Scrivens leave a juicy rebound. Marchand had the second assist.

After a bad giveaway by David Krejci, who hesitated with a chance to shoot, Nazem Kadri cashed in his 11th goal of the season at 2:32 of the second period from Clarke MacArthur and Carl Gunnarsson. Toronto took advantage of a 2-on-1, Khudobin had no chance to stop it. Seguin and the B's responded with a doppleganger tally as he finished a 2-on-1 (his 6th goal of the season) with Marchand. Bergeron had the second assist at 11:09. Krejci's goal (his 6th of the season) turned out to be the game-winner at 18:03. Andrew Ference and Milan Lucic had the assists as Krejci battled in front of the net and was rewarded with a rebound.

The Leafs didn't entirely fold as Jay McClement tipped in a shot from Mikhail Grabovski with 5:08 left in regulation but Seguin padded his stats with an empty-netter. Toronto will have two more chances later in March to beat the Bruins, otherwise it might never happen. Haha I'm only sort of kidding, they must have zero confidence against the B's.

Speaking of headcases, the Flyers (11-13-1) are due for a visit on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m., NESN). It'll be the first Bruins game against Philadelphia this season and even though it's a matinee (which are often dull), you can bet those teams will make it interesting.

UPDATE 3/8: The Bruins recalled forward Jordan Caron from Providence (for the first time this season) and Chris Bourque cleared waivers so he'll play tonight in Providence.

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