MAPLE LEAFS (7-9-4) at BRUINS (9-8-1)
7:00pm (NHLN, CBC, NESN)
Today’s matchup has a Tale of Two Cities feel. It features two teams that are seemingly heading in very different directions. On the one hand, you have the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team is turning heads as of late due to strong special teams and top-end goaltending. And on the other hand you have the Boston Bruins, a team that appears to be on a bit of a decline, a shadow of their former Leafs-dominating self.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been on a hot streak, going 5-1 in their last six games with a nearly unbeatable James Reimer in the crease. In the process they defeated the Vancouver Canucks with a 4-2 win, along with a 5-1 rout over the Colorado Avalanche. To top that all off, victories against the top two teams in the Central Division; a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars and a 2-1 shootout win over the Nashville Predators.
Yesterday, the Leafs battled back 1-0 to win 2-1 in a shootout over the Carolina Hurricanes. Nazem Kadri finally got the monkey off his back, scoring his second goal of the season and his first in 15 games. James Reimer won his fifth straight game, stopping 33 of 34 shots for a .971 save percentage.
It’s no surprise that Leafs are riding a hot streak with special teams starting to play a big part. Their power play came alive against the Avalanche for three power-play goals, as well as a short-handed goal.
Much of that success is due to last week’s third star of the week, Reimer. Reimer improved his season record to 7-2-3 with a save percentage ranks seventh with a .933 and a goals against average of 2.08. Here’s a look at his save percentages during his 5-0 streak.
|Nov.10 vs. Dallas Stars||.947|
|Nov.12 vs. Nashville Predators||.955|
|Nov.14 vs. Vancouver Canucks||.956|
|Nov.17 vs. Colorado Avalanche||.971|
|Nov.20 vs. Carolina Hurricanes||.971|
Optimus Reim, or the Reim-inster of Defense seems to be back in the groove and has over taken the role from Jonathan Bernier as the number one goalie so far. Reimer hasn’t looked this great since he carried the team to a playoff berth in 2012/13. Will this stretch last long? Who knows? But at the moment, Reimer is rolling, everyone is doing their part to win and the Leafs have a good streak going on right now.
With his five straight wins, Reimer has been confirmed the starter vs. the Bruins tonight.
While the Leafs are finding some positives to their game, the Boston Bruins look to find out what is going on with their team and try to find one positive in what has been a disappointing season thus far.
While they’re first in the league in power-play (34.5%), they’re last in penalty-kill with 72.0%. To make matters worse the Bruins only have three wins at home. The most recent win was Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.
Number one starter Tuukka Rask has been less than stellar so far this season. Rask is 5-7-1 with a goals against average of 3.18 and a .890 save percentage. In his recent outing, Rask allowed five goals on 28 shots against the San Jose Sharks.
Following that disappointing loss, head coach Claude Julien was clearly frustrated and didn’t sugar coat their recent play.
“When you look at our game, and what we’re capable of doing and what we’re not doing at times is something that needs to be addressed internally. I’m just as embarrassed as anybody else here with this loss.
“We definitely need to be better and there’s got to be more pride than that.”
Once one of the most feared teams in the league, the Bruins, who have been less than average, need to turn things around and fast. Julien is running out of time to fix the problem as he is now sitting on thin ice. Now I haven’t seen a lot of Bruins games, but judging from the highlights, things aren’t looking great for them.
It also doesn’t help that their recent woes are due to management trading away key pieces in Milan Lucic and the team’s potential number one defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
The Bruins did manage to bounce back with a 4-2 over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Loui Eriksson added a hat-trick and Jonas Gustavsson got the win. The Leafs are now one point behind the Bruins in the standings.
Fun fact: The Bruins have traded away all the picks that they received from the Leafs for Phil Kessel (Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight, who never played a game with the Bruins).
Here is an excellent article about the above deal: http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25231958/revisiting-the-original-phil-kessel-trade-where-nobody-is-a-winner-today
Toronto Maple Leafs
Gdiff (5v5) — -3
Gdiff (All) — -7
CF% (5v5) – 49.0
PP% – 21.0
PK% – 80.6
Gdiff (5v5) — +2
Gdiff (All) — +4
CF% (5v5) – 49.6
PP% – 34.5
PK% – 72.0
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Kadri – Komarov.
Mathias – Bozak – Parenteau
Winnik – Holland – Lupul
Grabner – Froese – Boyes
Gardiner – Phaneuf
Hunwick – Rielly
Marincinin – Polak
Beleskey – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchard – Bergeron – Hayes
Spooner – Kemppainen – Connolly
Morrow – Rinaldo – Randell
Chara – Trotman
Seidenberg – Miller
Krug – McQuaid
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1958 – Leafs acquire Gord Redahl from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Bo Elik. Both players did not play a single game for their new clubs.
- 1964 – Terry Sawchuk and the Leafs blank the Black Hawks 1-0 in Toronto. With the shutout, Sawchuk became the first goalie to record at least one shutout in 16 straight seasons!
- 1979 – Leafs fans were able to take in Wayne Gretzky’s first game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Both teams fought to a 4-4 draw, but Gretzky stole the show with a four point night!
- 1995 – Leafs honour Tim Horton and King Clancy by raising their number #7s to the rafters before a game against St. Louis. Benoit Hogue led the Leafs with two goals and one assist in a 5-2 victory over the Blues.
- 2000 – Sergei Berezin and Garry Valk tally two points each in a 3-1 Leafs victory at Madison Square Garden.
- 2001 – Leafs acquire Finnish defenseman Jyrki Lumme from the Dallas Stars in exchange for some brute named Dave Manson.