Game Day Notes: Leafs @ Bruins

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Photo: Getty Images via NHL.com

The Leafs go seeking out an ever-elusive regular season victory at TD Garden tonight.

– Randy Carlyle has apparently had an epiphany:

 

Wow. At the very least he’ll shut the whiny Leafs bloggers up if the Leafs get hammered tonight or lose both games of this back to back (who am I kidding, no it won’t).

This has been the funny thing about Carlyle. He does some frustrating things with his roster decisions, only to suddenly, albeit belatedly, accurately diagnose the issues he’s – at least in part – created himself. It reminds me of game 1 vs. the Boston Bruins in the playoffs, when we all shouted that he can’t play both enforcers and sit Jake Gardiner if we want to beat these guys. We had to lose 4-1 before it sunk in. Better late than never.

That all said, we’ll have to see how it plays out. Maybe Carlyle doesn’t like a shift from Holland and goes back to what he trusts with McClement. Sounds like the right idea to start, anyway.

– It also probably has a lot to do with David Clarkson’ status sounding doubtful for tonight, which throws the shutdown line out of whack. He was apparently up all night vomiting due to the flu.

– This will be the third of four season meetings vs. the Bruins tonight. The Leafs lost the first two games by a combined score of 8-3. They had periods in both where they looked competitive, including the first period in the 5-2 loss (took a 1-0 lead) and the final two periods in the 3-1 loss back in early November (tied the game up in a dominant second period, gave up the 2-1 goal in the third, conceded an empty netter).

– The challenge with the Bruins is, of course, dealing with their forecheck. We got a glimpse of what the opposition coaches target on the Leafs on 24/7 when we heard Mike Babcock reiterate his directive to work over the Leafs D down low. This wasn’t particularly surprising to see/hear.

– Who can forget the infamous 2:10 minute shift in the Leaf end, while Ranger and Fraser fumbled around and Kulemin lost his stick, last time the Leafs were in Boston?

– The Leafs followed up that crazy-bad first period with an 18-shot 2nd period (maybe their best single period shot total all season?). Phaneuf threw two great hits and once the Leafs could actually string some passes together coming out of their zone, they were able to establish a forecheck, cycle and outskate the Bruins.

– Carlyle will likely leave the defence as it was, but it’s worth considering that Jake Gardiner and Cody Franson are always amazing together against the Bruins. Gardiner was Bruin kryptonite in the playoffs last season, and both have been able to move the puck efficiently against the Bruin forecheck. They seem to elevate their physical games, as well.

– The Boston Bruins have gone 3-4 (with one win in OT) and allowed 21 goals in 7 games since top-pairing rock Dennis Seidenberg went down injured for the year. The matchup will be a little less intimidating for the Leafs’ top line tonight. Zach Boychuk has been playing with Chara in Seidenberg’s place.

– Jonathan Bernier will start for the ninth time in the last 10 games. He wasn’t very good last time out vs. Boston in the 5-2 loss at the ACC. Tuukka Rask is the likely starter for the Bs.

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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]
  • LeGoon

    That is good news Holland draws back in, now what do we have to do to Free Reimer?

  • LeGoon

    CanuckUKinToronto LeGoon I don’t think Bernier has out played Reimer to the point where he should be anointed the #1.  I liked the idea of you win and you’re in, not one guy getting 9 of 10 starts.

  • mr_hanie

    I still remember that Boston game with Fraser and Ranger hemmed in the zone for about 3 minutes and Kulemin playing without a stick…..thats why Leafs are so easy to play/coach against.

  • dlb eh

    to me…it seems that Carlyle gives things a chance to prove one way or another what they are before claiming what they are.
    call that stubborn.  call it whatever you want.  i call it logical if you want to build a team for a championship over time instead of over night.

  • dlb eh

    by the way, i think we were losing game 1 no matter what we did last year.  BOS had the mystique still.  the fellas had to get kicked in the shins in order to build the bone strong enough so that we could kick back.

  • dlb eh

    look for Boychuk to limp off the ice “like a warrior” (he can hear Don Cherry talking about him as he does) 3 times.  2 blocked shots and one from a hit he absorbs in the corner like a champ.
    look for him to drop his glove to feel for blood on his lip once.
    look for him to appear to pray to himself during the anthems to give himself strength.
    fucking douchbag

  • Marlies Man

    MikeGartner11 He saw an image of Peter Holland in his burnt toast.

  • dlb eh

    Murph2417
    speak for yourself.  he called out the bloggers, including himself.  and then promised there would be no end to the whining nonetheless.  we demand satisfaction but do not expect we shall ever be satisfied!

  • Alec Brownscombe

    dlb eh Oh, I agree. They weren’t ready. But Carlyle wasn’t putting them in the best position to succeed. I was impressed how he coached the rest of the series.

  • Bobsyouruncle

    CanuckUKinToronto Cap is calculated daily not per game.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    dlb eh Murph2417 I’ll shut up if he plays the top 9 we want plus McClement/Ashton on line 4 and we lose the Back to Back. I’ll commit to silence for a week, lol.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook Alec Brownscombe dlb eh Murph2417 Haha. I don’t think we’d lose both back to back with either lineup. Seems like a safe bet.

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe
    i will have Ashton-Bozak-Kessel for at least one shift tonight or i will not have satisfaction

  • Jon5200

    I think dlb eh mentioned this on another thread but it almost seems to me as well that now that the Leafs are doing well at the shootout….its become a bad stat?  It just shows how weak the team is?  Its ok in past years for other teams like pittsburgh to be near the top of the shootout leaders and it a great gimmick for the fans…..but now that the Leafs are 2nd only behind Washington….we’ve got to get rid of the shootout?  Being a glass is half full kinda Leaf fan i would say that as bad as the Leafs seem to be….other teams cannot beat them in regulation or OT……and obviously dont have the talent to beat the Leafs in a shoot out!!!

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe
    Carlyle seems to protect the kids without being obvious about it.  to me, he looks for a small reason to justify it and it works like a distraction to what’s really going on.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jon5200 Being good at the shootout is certainly not a bad thing. 
    14 ROW is the concern.

  • Jon5200

    Alec BrownscombeJon5200agreed….would be better to be able to win a tie breaker……

  • Bobsyouruncle

    dlb eh Boychuk has been asking Chiapet to pick-up Franson at the trade deadline for a play-off run.. Likes the way he lays on those between the legs passes for the one timer.

  • dlb eh

    TheCanucksnaphook
    i’m not opposed to switching it up like that either.  when Bolland returns i think it will be natural we see Clarkson-Bolland and Kadri-Lupul to start with.
    i just remember one shift earlier in the year where Ashton was creative and showed good hands at a high pace in a cycle with Bozak and Kessel, and i just hope he’s more than a 4th liner.
    i’ll stomp my feet.

  • dlb eh

    Bobsyouruncle
    lol, lays off?

  • dlb eh

    Jon5200
    when i saw the link go up for this new thread.  i vented haha.

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe
    that’s true.  but it’s still relevant to consider the times a team is not defeated.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook There’s only one Jimmy Reimer was great.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook  Walking along, singing his song, living in a Reimer wonderland

  • dlb eh

    TheCanucksnaphook
    i had to go listen to that.  sorry, i’m back.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook Alec Brownscombe It’s been a football chant in England for ages

  • dlb eh

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GRSbr0EYYU

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook Ole Ole Ole Ole :)

  • Bobsyouruncle

    dlb eh 1st goal. Franson at 0:45  Never saw the huge slewfoot by Seguin before. 0:10   
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYanopv3NCs

  • Jon5200

    How about……….’LOVE YA BLUE’…..oops, that was an old Houston Oilers chant…………

  • sharkbabysitter

    conspiracy theory #899 – holland and bolland have the same name except for one letter. Coincidence? I don’t think so! holland centers line three until bolland is back. it has been written.

  • lister

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/the_spin/2014/01/stamkos_figures_to_be_leiweke_s_long_term_target_for_leafs.html
    Man crush! Hope that happens.
    Yeah I know it’s Cox…

  • Alec Brownscombe

    lister Get to him early and often, Leiweke…

  • Black_Hawk

    Do it up

  • Black_Hawk

    Hope Holland starts to get mins either at center or wing

  • Burtonboy

    Alec Brownscombe lister Wonder if Stammer listens to Drake

  • Black_Hawk

    Bruins are gonna be real tough. Hopefullly the team doesn’t crumble under the challenge

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Burtonboy Alec Brownscombe lister  I’ve been a STH at TFC since game 1…Drake having pull with big name athletes in Europe  means I’ll have to force myself to like him, I guess. Hate the music.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Black_Hawk There’s nothing to indicate that could ever happen

  • Airfreshener

    lister get ‘er done.

  • Burtonboy

    Alec Brownscombe Burtonboy lister I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Drake ,not that I know off . The fucker has huge connections all over the world as we found out this week.

  • ProfessorRance

    lister $16 million for Stamkos. Wow.

  • Airfreshener

    ProfessorRance lister worth it.

  • Black_Hawk

    Lol a lot more popular than I thought

  • ProfessorRance

    Airfreshener ProfessorRance lister When the cap is up to $80 heck yes it is.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    dlb eh Alec Brownscombe Yeah they kept fucking saying that, eh?

  • dlb eh

    Bobsyouruncle
    oh man, i must have erased that from memory haha

  • Great Dane

    Alec BrownscombelisterThis actually makes a lot of sense. Leiweke just want to go big and that is the way to do it.

  • dlb eh

    TheCanucksnaphook
    cookies?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orZwIDDKvlQ

  • lister

    TheCanucksnaphookLoad the page in a private session in Firefox or Chrome.