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Saturday, December 10, 2016

B's Double Down On Their Bad Loss To Avs With an Equally Horrifying Loss to Wretched Leafs

Every game in the marathon known as the 82-game regular season of the NHL is for all intents and purposes worth the same: two points. However, that doesn't mean that they always feel like they have the same exact worth. If you beat a quality team or even get a point against them (think that 4-3 overtime loss to Washington on Wednesday), that is seen as a good thing. Conversely, when you lose to the dregs of the league, there is no putting lipstick on that pig. Boston (15-12-2) lost 4-2 to lowly Colorado (10-15-1) on Thursday which was depressing enough and they followed that up with another poopfest, a 4-1 setback to Toronto (11-10-5) tonight at TD Garden.

Along with their alarming lack of goal-scoring (outside of one David Pastrnak), Boston's latest issue has been allowing the first goal. They have done that in the last three games and in fact, they have been down 2-0 to the Capitals, Avalanche and Maple Leafs so it's no wonder that they only got one point out of a possible six points in that stretch. Boston outshot Toronto 11-2 in the first period (tied for the fewest shots they've allowed in a frame this season) but weren't able to find the back of the net. The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead 1:44 into the second period as American hero Auston Matthews (the No. 1 pick this past summer) beat Tuukka Rask (16 saves) top shelf. William Nylander had the assist on Matthews' 12th goal of the season (tied for the team-lead) after Pastrnak had turned over the puck in his own end.

Zach Hyman tipped in a floater from the point by Jake Gardiner, giving Toronto a 2-0 advantage at 15:14 of the second period. Former Bruins great Matt Hunwick had the second assist on Hyman's (tough name) fourth goal of the season. Unbeknownst to everyone in the world except his family and agent, Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (32 saves) is now 6-0-0 in six career games against the B's. The good news for the Bruins is that if they get to the playoffs this spring, at least he won't be there. Brad Marchand cut it to 2-1 at 18:39 as he poked in a backhander after a scramble in front of Andersen. David Backes assisted on Marchand's eighth goal of the season. As Marchy noted after the game, they need to get more dirty goals like that to snap this team-wide scoring drought.

Former UNH star James van Riemsdyk put this one away with an acrobatic tip-in of his own at 9:52 of the third period to make it 3-1 in favor of the Leafs. Tyler Bozak made the play happen with a great backhand pass and JVR was out front to get just enough of it to sneak it by Rask. Hunwick picked up his second assist of the game (he had 4 in 17 games coming in) on van Riemsdyk's 12th goal of the season. Connor Brown's empty-netter at 18:27 gave us that gross final score.

On paper (and probably in real life as well), things don't figure to ease up for Boston this week as they go to Montreal (19-6-3) on Monday (7:30, NESN) and then Pittsburgh (18-7-3) on Wednesday (7:30, NBC Sports)-the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. They return to the Garden on Thursday (7, NESN) vs. Anaheim (14-9-5) and they host Los Angeles (14-11-2) on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN). Rask is due to win at the Bell Centre sometime soon, right? Maybe it'll be the old reverse lock against the Canadiens. The Bruins can't let this slide go on for very long or else they'll drop out of a playoff spot; it sounds silly but even this early in the season, it's hard to make up much ground when so many teams are in front of you.

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