Bourque, Bruins edge Leafs, 1-0

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Bourque, Bruins edge Leafs, 1-0

TORONTO It wasnt the laughing blowout that many of the games were last season when the Bruins lambasted the Maple Leafs in six regular season meetings, but the end result was the same.

The Bruins got an early goal from Chris Bourque and put out a great defensive effort in a 1-0 win over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

The Bruins held the slim one goal lead through the first two periods after Chris Bourque finally potted his first goal as a member of the Black and Gold midway through the first period. It was a great shift by the Bs third line as Rich Peverley threw a bouncing puck toward the net that Chris Kelly corralled, and then fired a backhanded pass to Bourque waiting at the doorstep.

The oldest Bourque rifled the puck into the empty net for his second career NHL goal and then gave the signature family celebration: he dropped to knee on the ice and gave the sliding fist pump just like his old man.

The rest of the game was a gritty Northeast Division battle. Lane MacDermid and Mark Fraser fought two different times with the second one featuring Fraser dropping to the ice after the Bs enforcer caught him with a couple of straight rights to the face. The second fight was started when Jamie Tardif knocked Phil Kessel off his skates with a hit in the neutral zone in his first career NHL game.

It appeared that the Bruins had the insurance goal they needed in the second period when a puck bounced off Tyler Seguins leg into an open net. But it was waved off because Brad Marchand had made contact with Toronto goalie James Reimer on a previous rush to the net. That contact caused Marchand to go tumbling into the boards where he appeared to injure himself, and left the game for good at the end of the second period.

GOLD STAR: The Bruins defense headed by Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk. It was clear the Bruins wanted to get back to defensive basics after an embarrassing effort in their own zone against the Buffalo Sabres, and thats exactly what they did. Chara was airtight in his own end for 21:33 and had a combined six blocked shots and hits at the end of the night. He also came to Boychuks aid when his defensive partner was boarded by Leo Komarov in the third period, but was then called for a bogus roughing call when he bumped the Toronto skater for taking liberties. Boychuk blocked a game-high five shots and the Bruins blocked 22 while earning the ice bucket award for body sacrifice.

BLACK EYE: The referees have been pretty good on balance this season, but I think Chris Lee, Ian Walsh, Mark Shewchyk and Brad Lazarowich had an off night. The Tuukka Rask goalie interference in the first period that wiped out a Cody Franson goal was debatable with the Bs goaltender outside of the crease, and a Tyler Seguin waved off in the second period was even worse. The refs ruled incidental contact when Brad Marchand tripped over James Reimers equipment on a rush to the net, but Reimer had ample time to get up and recover before the puck bounced off Seguins leg and into the net. A tacky roughing call on Zdeno Chara for standing up for his defensive partner after hed been boarded and one of those foo-foo obstruction interference calls on Dennis Seidenberg also wont be on the greatest hits list anytime soon. The Bruins had a legit complaint as Toronto had more than twice as much power play time as the Bruins did.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins penalty kill held the Toronto power play to two shots in nearly six minutes of man advantage time, and Tuukka Rask put an exclamation point on the final one by stopping a Phil Kessel screamer from the face-off dot. It was one of the few clean looks Toronto got at the Boston net all night long, and it ended up as one of Rasks 21 saves on the night. The Bruins did the rest while running out the clock and making certain the gritty one-goal win was theirs.

HONORABLE MENTION: Give it to Lane MacDermid, who dropped the gloves twice to battle with Mark Fraser in a couple of honest-to-goodness NHL fights. The first was an early bout to set the tone in the first period and Fraser scored the take-down in an even match. The second was a reaction after Jamie Tardif knocked Phil Kessel down in the neutral zone, and Fraser started making a b-line for the fourth line winger. MacDermid stepped in and dropped Fraser with a couple of strong right-handed offerings. He also managed a shot on net and a hit in 3:02 of ice time for the Bruins.

BY THE NUMBERS: 22 the number of blocked shots by the Bruins as that dwarfed the 12 blocked shots by the Maple Leafs in the contest. It was clear Boston was spilling the effort bucket in its fourth game in the last six nights, and its the reason they won.

QUOTE TO NOTE: We just cleaned up our defensive game tonight. We were extremely sloppy in that game against Buffalo, but we cleaned it up. You talk about a good road win. This was the fourth game in six nights, with the way we competed from fore-check to back-check I thought this was a really good character win for us. Claude Julien impressed with the way the Bruins bounced back after a bad loss to Buffalo.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.