Five thoughts: Bruins-Maple Leafs

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Five thoughts: Bruins-Maple Leafs

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1) Finally a Chris Bourque moment arrives for people to hang their hat on. The 26-year-old received his fair share of criticism over the last couple of weeks as he worked to establish chemistry and understanding of the Bruins way of doing things, and it paid off tonight with his first goal in the Bruins uniform. It was a nice play by the third line with Chris Kelly firing a blind backhanded pass through the crease to Bourque crashing the net and the left wing slammed home the shot for the games only score. Hopefully the goal quiets an unfair level of criticism that had been following a player that deserved a legit chance to establish himself at the NHL level.

2) Bonus points to Bourque for dusting off the Ray Bourque fist pump on one knee after he scored. Its been a long time since his dad did one of those in a No. 77 sweater and it was a pretty clear tribute to his dad for anybody that grew up watching the Hall of Fame defenseman during his career in Boston.

3) It looked like the Leafs had themselves a goal as well when Cody Franson fired a puck from the high point that hit the back of the net after going through a bevy of traffic in front. But the puck got through so cleanly because Nazem Kadri bumped Rask while the Bruins goaltender was trying to track the puck, and so it was waved off. The Bruins outshot the Leafs by a 12-7 margin in the first period.

4) Good scrap between Mark Fraser and Lane MacDermid less than three minutes into the first period. The fight should go down as a draw as both players got some jabs and uppercuts in before Fraser finally took MacDermid down to the ice to end the fight.

5) Apparently Lebron James has tweeted that hes here in the crowd at the Air Canada Centre taking in the game. Ill see if I can track him down and berate him for his The Decision bull crap from a few years ago. That still bugs me even if I respected his performance in last years playoffs.

SECOND PERIOD

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1) A lot of action surrounding one play: what appeared to be a Tyler Seguin goal off his leg while he was camped in front of the net was waved off by refs. The play had started with Brad Marchand driving the left side of the net while riding Mike Komisarek to the net. Marchand tripped over James Reimers equipment as he reached the net, and the Bs agitator went crashing back-first into the end boards. Marchand left the ice in pain, returned for a shift and then spent the rest of the period on the bench while Gregory Campbell was skating in his place alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin.

2) The goal appeared to be a good one as it kicked around the offensive zone before bouncing off Seguins leg in front of the net, but the refs apparently waved off the goal because of the contact Marchand originally made with Reimer. It seemed that he had ample time to get up and get back into the play, but the referees felt otherwise after a video review.

3) Tyler Seguin is incredibly snake-bitten right now. The Bruins forward appeared to have a goal in the second period when he fired a snapshot through traffic that James Reimer never saw. But the puck smacked off the knob of Reimers stick and bounced into the netting for a face-off. This is after his deflection goal was waved off in front of the net. Seguin is second on the Bruins with four shots on goal and has combined with Patrice Bergeron for nine of Bostons 24 shots on net.

4) Good physicality by Jamie Tardif, who nailed Phil Kessel with a clean hit in the neutral zone that knocked No. 81 off his pins. That prompted fight No. 2 for Lane MacDermid and Mark Fraser, and this time the Bruins tough guy dropped the Toronto fighter after a couple of hard right-handed punches to the face. Proper response from Toronto and MacDermid took care of business.

5) Four blocked shots for Johnny Boychuk and four hits for Milan Lucic in a gritty, gritty game between these two teams. It looks like Randy Carlyle finally has the Maple Leafs on the right track here in Toronto with the way the Leafs are battling the Bruins tonight.

THIRD PERIOD

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 1-0 score after the first 60 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1) Good game for Tuukka Rask tonight. The Leafs had a couple of very good scoring chances and Phil Kessel just missed on one when he winged a shot off the far crossbar. But Rask the defense had a nice rebound performance while holding the Leafs down to 17 shots during the game.

2) Bogus penalty call on Zdeno Chara when he came to the aid of Johnny Boychuk after he was boarded in the corner by Leo Komarov. Chara came over and bumped the Toronto skater to let him know he didnt like the hit, and the Bruins called him for a roughing penalty wiping out a potential power play. The refs have to show a little situational discretion there.

3) Brad Marchand never returned to the bench for the third period after his second period tumble into the boards. He skated one shift afterward, but was on the bench at the end of the second period while replaced by Gregory Campbell on his forward line.

4) Great rebound performance by Zdeno Chara tonight. Was the big stopper in his own end and was right where he needed to be when somebody took liberties with his defenseman partner. Two shots on net, three hits and two blocked shots for the Big Captain in 20 minutes of ice time.

5) By the way, Johnny Boychuk is one tough son of a gun. He takes some of the worst-looking hits and then jumps back up and never misses a shift. I remember seeing him take a shot to the head that I thought would knock him out of the game for sure in the AHL playoffs for Providence, and he shook it off and never missed a shift. You need that kind of toughness to play defenseman in the NHL and he definitely has it.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.