Rivalry Night: Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs


“That’s the sign of a good team.” –David Clarkson

It’s rivalry night in Toronto as the Bruins take on the Maple Leafs tonight to kick off their short road trip. The Bruins started the month of November with one goal, to turn things around and prove that they could win games despite their captain being sidelined. So far, they have gone 6-1 with a depleted blue line and it’s not going unnoticed.

“That’s the sign of a good team.” David Clarkson told the media before tonight’s match up. “Those kinds of things will happen during the year.”

Tonight will mark the second meeting of the season for the Leafs and Bruins, the Bruins taking the first game in stride as they provided an astounding 4-1 victory. The win was the first victory in the absence of Chara and provided some faith in the minds of Bruins fans that they could play collectively without their big missing link. However, it is imperative that the Bruins don’t go into tonight’s game looking to face the same team they did earlier this month.

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Tonight they are going to face a team who is hungry to forget about the embarrassment they faced being shut out to a team that was struggling to stay alive to start the season. “We’ve tried to stimulate our memory about how embarrassed we were in performance we put forth in that game,” said Coach Randy Carlyle.

Since the loss to the Bruins, the Leafs have won 5 of their last 7 contests, sporting a 5-1-1 record.  James Reimer has been a huge deciding factor for the Leafs as he has helped them with two victories, stopping over 40 shots on net. However, this is the only real strength the Leafs possess against Boston as they have seemingly become reliant on netminding alone.

Nazem Kadri was supposed to be a top-line forward for the Leafs, but has yet to really come full-circle for the team who has since demoted him to the second line.

“In some situations he has looked good and in other situations I think Nazem is a player we are looking for to continue to show growth,” Carlyle said “At times he takes steps forward and at times he appears to be in neutral, but that’s not any different than any young player. We are putting him in some tougher situations this year. He’s up against the other team’s top or second line. He has to move his feet and be more physical.”

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  • While the Leafs compliment themselves on having a balanced offensive structure, it only comes when their secondary line is on their A-game. The Bruins fortunately can pride themselves in knowing that all four of their lines have the same structure, a perfect counter to the Leafs.  The Bruins can also take advantage of the Leafs knack to get on the board early. If they are able to come out onto the ice with the momentum they had in the second period against the Devils, they will have no problem.

    As we all know the Bruins will once again be playing without center David Krejci who did not make the trip with the team, meaning Chris Kelly will once again be filling in as the top line center. They will also continue to be without Kevan Miller, despite him travelling with them. The good news, with Miller participating in team practices, it means he is inching his way closer to joining Krug in the line up and making the Bruins defensive depth that much stronger.