Thursday, March 31, 2011

Game 77: Time Is Running Out...For The Leafs

Tonight the Bruins took on the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was the last meeting of the season between these two teams and this was the next to last divisional game of the season for the Bruins. Boston trailed the Washington Capitals by three points for second place in the Eastern Conference heading into the night. For Toronto, they were seven points out of the final playoff spot needing a miracle finish to play beyond the 82 game schedule.

There were some line up changes for the Bruins tonight. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was a scratch tonight in order to give Steve Kampfer some playing time. Also, Michael Ryder played tonight after forward Shawn Thornton was not medically cleared to play after taking a skate to the forehead resulting in 40 stitches. Yesterday, Thornton claimed he did not know who said the trash talk to him as he was skating by the Chicago bench, but he said that he "will find out who did it if he wants to be a man about it." God have mercy on that unknown Blackhawk's soul.

After both national anthems were heard, the puck was dropped. For the first few minutes, the Bruins could not get the puck out of the their own end. However, the Maple Leafs did not have too many quality shots. Luke Schenn (TOR) scored for the Leafs after his shot was deflected behind Tim Thomas by Tomas Kaberle. Both teams took turns trading hooking and slashing penalties towards the end of the period but no power plays resulted in goals. Toronto had a one goal lead after the first period.

The Bruins woke up right away in the second period. After Zdeno Chara got sent to the penalty box for a holding call, they had to go on the penalty kill. It was there that Brad Marchand scored his 21st goal and it was also his fifth shorthanded goal of the season. Less than a minute later, the Bruins took the lead when David Krejci put the puck in the net after some great passing by Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.

Joffrey Lupul (TOR) scored his 12th of the season to tie the game at two. This was a power play goal that was assisted by Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. Soon after, Andrew Ference scored his third of the season to put Boston back on top. This was an action packed second period that featured a fight between Milan Lucic and Jay Rosehill and lots of extra pushing and shoving following whistles. Boston had a 3-2 lead after two periods.

In the third period, each team had bursts of energy and moments of fatigue. They each alternated fast rushes to the goal with a flurry of shots. The only goal of the period came when Joffrey Lupul scored his second goal of the game to tie the game at three and send the game into overtime. Tim Thomas stopped a penalty shot in overtime after a horrible call on defenseman Steve Kampfer. Boston had the opportunity to score when they went on the power play for the final minute, but several shots from Zdeno Chara could not go in and this game went to a shootout.

In the shootout, the three Boston shooters were Tyler Seguin, Michael Ryder, and Rich Peverley. The shooters for Toronto were Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri. Kadri scored the only goal and they did not need to send out a third shooter. The Maple Leafs won 4-3 in a shootout. Toronto keeps their minimum playoff hopes alive and Boston will have to wait until Saturday for another chance to clinch the Northeast Division.

Gold Star: Andrew Ference (1 goal, 4 shots on goal, +2 rating)

Black Star: Patrice Bergeron...he was not a huge factor in this game. Although he was involved in a key play: a turnover that led to the Toronto goal that tied the game. Try being on the other side of those Bergeron.

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