Talking Points: Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 2

Talking Points: Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 2
December 8, 2013, 11:45 pm
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GOLD STAR: Kevan Miller finished with the game-winning goal on his first career NHL score, played 22:12 of ice time and managed to shake off a crunching Dion Phaneuf hit from behind in the corner in the closing moments of the game. Six shot attempts, two hits and five blocked shots from Miller as he played with snarl around the net, and was a surprisingly effective player around his own blue line. The instinct to move himself into a shooting position off a Carl Soderberg face-off win in the offensive zone is something that belies his stay-at-home defenseman reputation. Miller is cementing his role as an NHL player, and is expected to be able to play vs. the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

BLACK EYE: Dion Phaneuf finished with a minus-2 in 22:05 of ice time, was a liability in his own zone and smashed Kevan Miller from behind in a dirty hit that should merit a review from the NHL Department of Player Safety. It’s amazing how much of a poor matchup the Bruins seem to be for Phaneuf, who continually shows he can’t hack it defensively against the Black and Gold. The hit on Miller at the end of the game was egregious enough, but the shoddy refereeing that managed to miss it completely deserved a black eye of its own.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins scored three unanswered goals in the second period while outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 16-7 margin, and really took control of a game that was wholly up for grabs. Toronto made a run in the final period, but the Bruins were strong enough to hold on and score a couple goals of their own. The biggest momentum swing came in the second period as well, when Miller scored the eventual game-winner and backup goalie Chad Johnson followed with a pair of big time stops on Phil Kessel right at the doorstep.

HONORABLE MENTION: Two points for Patrice Bergeron, 12-of-22 face-off wins, five shots on net and a dominant two-way performance for the Bruins center capped off a game where Boston’s best players had to show up to support an injury-plagued roster. Bergeron has seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in his last six games after busting open a long pointless streak for the Selke Trophy winner. One could have chosen Chad Johnson (30 saves), Milan Lucic (two assists) or Carl Soderberg (1 goal, 1 assist) as well in a win with plenty of key contributors.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 – the number of goals for rookie defenseman Torey Krug, who continues to keep pace with Erik Karlsson in that department and has a legit shot at scoring 20 goals this season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Very happy that the old guy finally scored. It was great, you could see the excitement on his face.” –22-year-old Torey Krug, talking about 26-year-old Kevan Miller scoring his first NHL goal as the eventual game-winner.