Friday, November 7, 2008

Bruins vs. Leafs: Takeaways

- Of course, the big story of the night was Blake Wheeler. Wearing new digits (#26, instead of the #42) he pumped in 3 goals to double his season total and tie Mikhail Grabovski for the rookie lead. Oddly, Grabovski scored one of his own to keep pace.

- The Leafs did not look as strong as I expected. In the first 40 minutes the Bruins thoroughly dominated the pace of the game, and only let up in the third period with a 3-0 lead. Apparently this has been happening quite often to the Leafs who have built a reputation for furious comebacks against teams who start to relax with a large lead. It's a credit to Ron Wilson that they are hanging in till the last minute.

- Tim Thomas delivered another virtuoso performance, stopping all but two of 36 shots. The goals scored were both on strange miscues in front of the net. Astoundingly, this represented a below-average night statistically for the league's biggest All-Star snub.

- Chara finally found the net on a weird bouncing slapshot. That makes 1 goal in 31 shots over 13 games. Hopefully he'll be the next in a line of Bruins who are breaking out of brutal slumps.

- I want to take a moment to plug Michael Ryder, who is not getting his due on the stat sheet and will probably be a target of "overpaid players" commentary before too long. Ryder can't score to save his life, but he's doing the little things to make his team better. Last night he threw several well-timed hits on the forecheck that gave the Bruins extra offensive chances.

- Entering the game, the Boston defensemen combined for 16 points on the season. They combined for 2 goals and 3 assists last night, including 2 points each from Wideman and Ference.

- The Bruins continue to struggle on faceoffs, a lurking problem which could become a game-changer in tough contests.

Other reviews:
Hub Hockey
The Big Bad Bruins
The Bruins Report
The Bear Cave
Cornelius Hardenbergh and the Hockey Blog Adventure
Rink Rap
Ghosts of the Garden
New England Hockey Journal

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Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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