Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bruins Win, Leafs Lose...What Else Is New?

The Bruins got great play from their special teams (2 PPGs and a shortie), Patrice Bergeron (4 helpers) and Tuukka Rask, who made it look easy in a 4-2 win (their third in a row) on the road to move them past Tampa Bay and Philly in the standings to sixth in the conference.

The Leafs, on the other hand, got another front row seat to a goaltending clinic, this time given by Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson in a 4-3 OT loss. Unfortunately for Bruins fans, the Leafs came back from a three-goal deficit to tie the game before falling in sudden death, meaning they got yet another point to help them in the standings. Their 15 points in 22 contests (4-11-7) pulls them equal with Carolina, but they do have a game-in-hand on the Hurricanes.

Former OHL star Josh Bailey put the dagger into Toronto's hearts with his sixth goal of the year at 4:17 of the extra session, but you have to think that with the way Roli was playing, the Isles would've pulled it off in the shootout. For the record, the Leafs outshot their opponent 61-21, and still lost...just a gut-wrenching kind of game to come up short in. Roloson posted a .951 save percentage on his 58 saves in regulation and OT while under siege. Like Miika Kiprusoff last week, it was a brilliant performance by a visiting netminder to the ACC.

As for the Toronto goalies: Vesa Toskala...not so much- getting the hook after allowing three goals on 15 shots (.800 save percentage). Ditto Jonas Gustavsson, who only faced six total shots in parts of two periods and OT- but gave up the winning goal (.833 save percentage) to Bailey. As Dana Carvey used to put it when he impersonated George H.W. Bush on the old SNL skits of the late '80's/early 90's: Not. Gonna. Do. It.

Big kudos to the Isles this year: GM Garth Snow has improved the club's talent and character, and he made the right moves in net to stabilize that team after Rick DiPietro's injury problems really deep-sixed the team last year before the season really got underway. And, I can't say enough about Scott Gordon- Flash has proven himself to be the absolutely right coach for that young team. He was a tremendous influence on Boston's prospects when he was the bench boss in Providence for five seasons, and he's showing the same kind of skill and smarts in his second NHL season. The Islanders put a whuppin' on the Bruins last week, and they came into Toronto and hung in there after the Leafs threw the kitchen sink at them. Those are the games that a young team truly learns and grows from, and Islanders fans have to be thrilled with what they've seen from their team thus far.

Leafs Nation: Still think that Tuukka Rask wouldn't be a help to you this year if he was one of your guys? He's 6-2-1 with a 2.27 GAA and .919 save percentage in nine starts as Tim Thomas' backup.

Looking ahead, big game for draft watchers on Wednesday night: Toronto takes on Tampa. The Bruins own both teams' second-round picks, but on this night, B's fans will definitely be cheering the 'Bolts.

Boston wraps up the road trip in Minnesota, and they've never fared well against the Wild. Even with Minnesota's struggles this year, don't bank on this being an easy two points for the B's.

1 comment:

  1. While I'm happy with the job Julien has done, I really wanted Gordon to get the job when it was available. Either way, I'm happy for Gordon.