GDT: Reimer back between the posts vs. Bruins

GDT: Reimer back between the posts vs. Bruins

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The Leafs will look to stay undefeated this decade as they welcome the Boston Bruins to the ACC in a game that will share the spotlight with the Canada – USA semifinal that’s got all the makings of another World Junior classic.

Ron Wilson has called young goaltender James Reimer’s name again in a pretty big show of confidence in the 22 year old. He had to be feeling some nerves against Ottawa given the circumstances but didn’t look the part in calmly turning away 32 of 33 shots.

The Bruins will counter with Tuukka Rask, meaning the Leafs will not have to face the league’s best goaltender statistically this season in Tim Thomas. It’d be pretty sweet if Reimer could outplay Rask tonight as a way of answering the flak Leafs fans receive for JFJ opting for Raycroft/Pogge over the Finn.

Phil Kessel is coming off a two point game in Ottawa and is looking to finally get on the board against his former team, although Kessel put it best after the morning skate when he dismissed this game as being anything different than usual: “that’s two years ago now.”

From Michael Stephens:

Tale of the Tape

Boston is 4 – 3 – 3 in the last 10, and have lost their last two games.  Toronto is 4 – 6 – 0 in their last ten, but is coming off a spirited victory over Krusty the Clown and the Ottawa Senators.  The Bruins are 7th in the conference in goals scored and 1st in goals against.  The Leafs are 13th in the conference in goals scored and 7th in goals against.  The Leafs won their previous game against the Bruins 3 – 2 in a shootout, and are 1 – 1 in two games this season against Boston.

Who’s Hot?

Mikhail Grabovski 11pts in last 11gp

Kris Versteeg 9 pts in last 9gp

Tomas Kaberle 7 pts in last 5gp

Keys to the game

Secondary scoring: The Leafs will – as always – have to rely on the scoring prowess of the Grabovski line.  However if history and past performance is any indicator of future outcomes, the Leafs won’t be able to rely on Phil Kessel.  In 8 games against his former club, the Wisconsinite has been a veritable non factor, tallying 1 assist while being kept to the perimeter (even more than usual).  Even with the last change, Kessel can expect to see the tall, dark, ominous shadow of Zdeno Chara all night.

Intimidation tactics:  The Bruins are a big team littered with players who aren’t afraid to throw hands.  Earlier this season, Dion Phaneuf and Nathan Horton decided to drop the gloves in a bout  of players being paid far too much to fight.  The Leafs will be in tough tonight against the likes of the aforementioned Horton, Chara as well as Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic.  Expect Colton Orr to have his hands full (of shattered teeth) tonight

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]