TORONTO The Battle for first place on Wednesday was won by the Boston Bruins.
The catch: there will be another one Saturday night at TD Garden against the very same Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Bs got some timely offense from slumping scorers like David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and ended up taking away a 6-3 victory over Toronto at the Air Canada Center to take a one point lead in the Northeast Division. The win gives Boston a 12-0-1 record in the month of November that becomes their first month of hockey without a regulation loss since January of 1969.
The ultimate game-winner went to unlikely hero Benoit Pouliot, who just keeps coming up with big plays in clutch situations for the Black and Gold. Pouliots score originally looked like an insurance tally in the third period when he snaked through traffic to go top shelf on a Joe Corvo pass from behind the net, but it became the difference-maker when Matt Frattin scored on a bad angle goal from behind the net.
It was a goal that might go down as the weakest one allowed by Tim Thomas this season, but it didnt stop him from extending his career-best winning streak to nine games with the victory.
Lucic opened things up when he evened up the score in the first period with a power play strike, and both Krejci and Zdeno Chara followed with goals that had handed Boston a one-goal lead heading into the third. That set up Pouliot as the third line hero once again, and made one of Bostons bottom-six forwards the difference-maker yet again in a big game.
Lucic added his second goal of the night as an insurance marker in the third period, and Brad Marchand tossed in an empty-netter for good measure.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering if the Bruins are ever going to poop, or get off the pot.
*John Tortorella wants everybody to know that he thinks there isn’t a chance that Lebron James could play hockey.
*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about whether or not Claude Julien should be fired after back-to-back bad losses against the Islanders and Red Wings.
*How did Shane Doan arrive at an unhappy place with the Arizona Coyotes where he now is open to moving elsewhere ahead of the trade deadline?
*Henrik Lundqvist’s season is entering a crisis level based on what he’s done, and the diminished performance level he’s showing as a more mature goaltender.
*A nice piece with a Canadian hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser, who recounts some of the legendary moments of her career through a series of pictures.
*I totally respect the work that Travis Yost does, but stating the Bruins should stick with Claude Julien because their shooting percentage is bound to turn around isn’t good enough grounds to keep a floundering situation intact, in my opinion. You need to check where the shots are coming from and how many of those shot attempts are completely missing the net to get a better grasp on some of the reasons behind Boston’s dreadful 10-year low shooting percentage. That would also explain some of the reason why Julien needs to be replaced coaching a team that’s largely content on perimeter shots to do it for them while also only sporadically showing the effort required from a middle class talent type of team.
*The Lightning are struggling at Joe Namath levels right now without Steve Stamkos in their lineup, and they need that to change.
*For something completely different: congrats to the Boston boys in New Edition for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.