Preview and GDT: Bruins at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., LeafsTV)

Preview and GDT: Bruins at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., LeafsTV)

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The Leafs look to build on a two-game winning streak against a familiar adversary tonight at the ACC.

The Bruins enter the game after an emotional, controversial win over the Pittsburgh in which Shawn Thornton pretty much committed assault on Brooks Orpik.

Loui Eriksson won’t play due to the after effects of a perfectly clean hit he sustained from Brooks Orpik which led to the aforementioned altercation. The Bruins are also without Chris Kelly, Adam McQuaid, and Johnny Boychuk.

Randy Carlyle probably won’t change much coming off a shootout win last night in Ottawa, although an infusion of fresh legs, be it Paul Ranger in for Mark Fraser (eh, Randy? eh?), could help in the back to back situation.

Last time the Leafs faced off with the Bruins on November 9, Boston dominated the first period, which included the infamous 2+ minute shift in Leaf end with Fraser, Ranger and a stickless Nik Kulemin on the ice. The Bruins were controlling pace of play (i.e. slowing it down and playing their game) with good puck management and an effective chip game. Their forecheck was forcing turnover after turnover, and the Leafs could not break up the Bruin cycle.

The Leafs surprised us with a great second period; an 18-shot effort that stemmed from a similar territorial dominance to what the Bruins imposed on the Leafs in the first period. Once the Leafs were able to string some passes together coming out of their zone, they were able to establish a forecheck, cycle and outskate the Bruins, which is the Leafs’ biggest advantage in this matchup.

A double minor high sticking call against JvR sunk the Leafs in the early third period. The Leafs could not reply on either of their third period powerplays.

The Cody Franson and Jake Gardiner pairing drove possession well in that game, and seem to know how to diffuse the Bruin forecheck effectively. Fraser, not surprisingly, struggled to get his feet moving and move the puck safely under pressure.

There is some talk Joffrey Lupul could play for the Leafs, as he was seen testing himself rigorously in the optional game day practice. Lupul scored the Leafs’ lone goal in the 3-1 loss last month.

Jonathan Bernier starts in net.

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]
1068 comments
GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

Have you ever raced cars, installed an "MSD" ignition box? You can insert a chip or module that limits your RPM before you have to shift gears.  This is how the maple Leafs are playing, like they have a REV limiter in place and they plan on leaving it there until the 40 game mark or until they slip out of a play-off spot, whichever comes first. Nothing else will make them pull that dang chip out. Not the coach, the media , the fans ...nothing. This is my theory anyway, so take it with a grain of salt.   That's why I'm not panicking just yet. After 40 games and it's gut-check time. I'll stick to this belief because it's only way I can tolerate watching and being patient.  

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

RC didn't say anything to the team . I think he knows the team is acutely aware of what is wrong. To name a few things, Can't clear the zone, can't hold the zone, can't pass cleanly, can't go direct to the net, can't keep someone back when the Leafs are in the ozone and there are rebounds off blocked shots. Passive PP, stupid penalties, cutie moves instead of full steam ahead. When the team plays physical, hard and can cycle we usually see results. They can't sustain this, they can't sustain 60 minutes of effort. RC has to attack each one of these and the players have to be willing to execute. There are no easy answers. It's hard work and beleaf. With wins comes confidence, but in our case I would say fleeting confidence. NoNo will not find many trading partners, nor does he have many assets to trade. The players and the coaches are our main salvation. Please Santa bring us some cheer.

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

if i had a mic to my face nearly every day id get irritated pretty quickly, Dion's answers are all scripted, he doesn't give anything up cause he knows he can't win

vinoa
vinoa

Judging by the comments it would seem that my decision to study instead of watching the game was time well spent. Will we ever get a stretch of decent play? Good thing the East is a shit show. Hopefully the rest of the league doesn't hit mid season form while we're still trying to get organized. When they were winning it seemed like they'd iron these issues out...now I'm just worried.

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

carlyles voice sounds shot......must be all the yelling from the intermission.....gonna see on HBO

JR from Halifax
JR from Halifax

Did I miss a memo that said its all slutty xmas ho avatars now?

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

It's not just the alternating goalies. RC alternates lines more than would appear necessary. RC is killing continuity. He finds reasons not to play the 4 th line. He finds reasons not to play Rielly when speed and ability to enter the zone through neutral ice, at speed, is key.

vinoa
vinoa

@Yaknowwhat They've both battled to get to where they are so if they're getting rattled in under 31 games then they're both mentally weak...which I just can't believe. They're both competitors and they'll come back to form. They need their teams to show up every night instead of just certain moments against certain teams.

whalz
whalz

@Yaknowwhat I agree with you there,,,,,enough of the BS,,,,,let one goalie take the ball for 4-5 gms and run with it,,,,

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

I would hope his irritation as well as all the other players is an indication they are pissed off at their own and collective performances.

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

@Yaknowwhat hes pissed, that one reporter with the question about his collision with kessel is a total idiot, that was almost a torts vs brooksi moment 

whalz
whalz

@Yaknowwhat stupid questions,,,,try answering same questions day in and day out....lol I don't blame him especially after a loss

vinoa
vinoa

@Yaknowwhat There's been a couple of those now. Was it all on him or did the D leave him hanging?

juliesucks
juliesucks

It's probably all been said already

rockydundas
rockydundas

This has been inspiring...changed my avatar too. Waddaya think?

rockydundas
rockydundas

You find my snowman sexy? Silly fuck! :)

juliesucks
juliesucks

Rielly not playing this much is beyond ridiculous. You don't do that to your best prospect. Nonis should be stepping in. It's not like we're the Kings or someone. He's better than half our Dmen

vinoa
vinoa

@wiski @vinoa Us banking on other teams' losses is not going to be a recipe for success. This month isn't going to get any easier and I don't see our team getting any better.

whalz
whalz

@juliesucks learnin curve, I suspect that the leafs are showcasing LILES,,,,,,+ its healthy to have a rookie watch some gms from the pressbox....Id expect him to play wed..

whalz
whalz

@Yaknowwhat the question is will  RC gives Bernier the start on wed against LA....

whalz
whalz

@Yaknowwhat exactly,,,after the game against Dallas I would of went right back to Bernier, I understand the logic as Reims has a ridiculous record against the Sens but they need to get going and be comfortable, hell u don't see a rotation in the playoffs,,,

vinoa
vinoa

@whalz @Yaknowwhat Just once I'd like someone to say, "Oh were you guys expecting us to win the game? We thought we'd just go out and do our best to have fun and enjoy ourselves." Or something equally fucked up.

whalz
whalz

@Yaknowwhat its ridiculous how they have access to the dressing room with the crap they ask...MY FAVORITE is "how do you feel after this loss losing the lead in the 3rd period? lmao....id say IM FUKCIN PISSED OFF, wtf do think we are feeling? you fkn moron!!!

ingy56
ingy56

@JR from Halifax @Yaknowwhat @wiski Keenan once went ballistic in the Hawks dressing room, tossing sticks and hurled a garbage can at the door. After the tirade he went to storm out of the room and realized he had broken the door and was locked in with the players..."Uncomfortable".