Game Day Notes: Leafs @ Bruins

Game Day Notes: Leafs @ Bruins

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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.

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]
222 comments
mike_84
mike_84

So OTT turned down a Gards for Zibanejad deal?

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

is Carlyle adjusting, looking to break up the shutdown line??

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

Evening Gents.....Blowout in Beantown!........GO LEAFS GO!!!!  :)

Cosmos1973
Cosmos1973

So i am always up for a Leaf game, but let me get this straight...we play the Bruins, so Holland up, D'Amigo down, (probably) both Orr and Mclaren in...when Thornton is out...and their defence is suspect?

Cameron19
Cameron19

Hey Alec, can we lose the troll?

peterbleafs
peterbleafs

Clarkson ought to play no matter how sick he is, he might play better.  Wimp.  So looking toward evaluating this game...its the most important of the year....where we die on the vine or we experience a resurgence.

ingy56
ingy56

@mike_84 Good, to be honest I seriously doubt you will ever see a trade between them. 

Cosmos1973
Cosmos1973

Not JB, his best friend...some rapper named Lil Douchebag...or something similar....

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I thought Thornton was back. Suspension was supposed to be over Jan. 11.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Leafs are held back by the cap.

Jordan29
Jordan29

@wiski @Cosmos1973 Leafs have lots alot of speed this year with Grabo, Macarthur and komarov gone and slow bolland and clarkson in

Cosmos1973
Cosmos1973

Wasn't that evident last spring...why we went 7 games, or was I watching some other games?

ShiftyD
ShiftyD

@wendelsfist@Shift_Disturber1  This one I just don't understand at all. Wickie can approve the finances for the team (max) and keep the hockey ops accountable. Other than that keep the fuck out

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski @ingy56 The "It's not mine" claims will  soon be on the way, if they haven't already. 

Cosmos1973
Cosmos1973

You forgot our secret weapon...speed demon Raymond!

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Jordan29 @Cameron19 Or they're like 12 years old. I've never actually requested someone be censored or ban-hammered - guess I'm just not in the mood for the nonsense today. When you deal with children all day, you only have so much patience left for the internet, lol. 

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Allowed 30 minutes of computer time a day in the facility.

Jordan29
Jordan29

@Cameron19 @Jordan29 oh well i enjoy it. Think about it, we are on here to talk to friends and enjoy a team we love. Someone like that is only here trying to piss people off. Imagine how there life is lol, probably eating toast off a piece of paper towel they made for them self because they live by their self

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Maybe he's going to talk Kovalchuk into coming to Toronto!