Boston Bruins: Another Must Win Game Against The Maple Leafs.

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The Boston Bruins find themselves in a position to solve multiple problems tomorrow night. With a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins will have an opportunity to silence the Maple Leafs’ in their last desperate gasp for credibility this season. Secondly, the Bruins will mathematically remove the Florida Panthers from contention in the post-season. Third, it will even out the series between the teams at two games each. Finally, a demoralized Maple Leafs team will go with full gusto against an Ottawa Senators team that is desperate to catch up to the Black and Gold.

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The Boston Bruins have played Jekyll-and-Hyde hockey this season, there is no doubt about that. By comparison, the Toronto Maple Leafs season can best be described as abysmal. Sure, Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak are all twenty plus goal scorers this year. Their plus/minus is a deplorable -100 between the three of them. The Leafs have given up on playing any form of team-structured hockey in favor of a ‘every man for himself’ mentality.

It’s a shame. Toronto has some impressive players on its roster. When the Leafs actually commit to some form of structure, they are a match for any team in the NHL. They even wiped the floor with the Bruins 6-1 earlier in the season. (Back when the Bruins roster was fully of injuries, and the Leafs actually seemed to care about themselves.) They’ve just given up on themselves. These players spend more time griping with the media than addressing the problems that took them from a playoff contender to a sad joke.

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  • The Bruins play like a team. While defensive breakdowns have been the elephant in the TD Garden, the Black and Gold are using their current desperation to make a solid run up the playoff ladder. They’re simply just the better team on the ice right now. They also have the advantage of playing their final home game of the season.

    The Bruins are playing for a playoff spot. The Leafs are playing for

    pride

    , for

    respect,

    for not having any more of their jerseys tossed on the ice by fans who just can’t understand why this team doesn’t care anymore.

    The B’s still need to win tomorrow night. The Ottawa Senators are only three points behind, and they still have the advantage of being one game up on Boston. They’ve also get to beat up on the Leafs the day after the Bruins do.

    Tuukka Rask will likely be in goal for the B’s. James Reimer is listed as probable for the Leafs.

    The Leafs are going with Reimer since he’s the hot hand in the crease right now. He’s won his last two starts. That being said, his record is hardly Vezina material. He’s 9-15 with a .905 save percentage, and a rough 3.15 goals against average. He has yet to earn a shutout this season. (Although, that’s not necessarily his fault. Have you seen the way the Leafs breakdown in their own zone? It makes the Bruins look like the Iron Curtain.) He’s still got troubles with giving up tasty rebounds and choking at the worst possible times.

    Rask is consistently better (I wish more Bruins “fans” would understand that.) than Reimer. Rask’s record is 33-19-12 with three shutouts. His .923 save percentage is significantly better, as well as his 2.29 goals against average. Rask still has his bad games, but not to the lengths the Leafs’ goaltenders have had this season.

    Tomorrow night, the Bruins can move up the ranks and castigate the Maple Leafs for their own tank-for-McDavid campaign.

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