Toronto Maple Leafs: It’s Statement Time!
The Toronto Maple Leafs will face off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre tonight in what many are calling a statement game for the Blue and White. The Maple Leafs were pounded by a final score of 6-2 at the TD Garden on October 20th in what can only be described as an embarrassing game for the Buds.
Toronto enters tonight’s match with a 9-3-1 record, good enough for first overall in the NHL standings, while Boston enters with a paltry 4-7-0 record, ranking them 29th overall.
Heading into the 2011-12 season few pundits had the Maple Leafs in the playoffs let alone atop the NHL standings and, while it is still early, history tells us that teams in the playoffs at Halloween typically follow through and make it into the playoffs at the end of the season. The key to Toronto’s early success has been their offense which, with 45 goals on the season, ranks second overall (tied with the Washington Capitals).
The Maple Leafs have received a herculean effort from sniper who has ten goals and 21 points through 13 games, good enough for top spot in the scoring race. Kessel’s early season efforts have seen him earn player of the week and player of the month honors.
Another key contributor has been Joffrey Lupul who has eight goals on the season and looks to be fitting in nicely alongside Tim Connolly and Kessel on the Buds top line.
A rejuvenated Dion Phaneuf on the backend has also been a key contributor. Of course, any success the Leafs can also be attributed to the Maple Leafs goaltending who, despite a spotty 3.00 combined goals against average, has nine wins between the trio of James Reimer, Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens—who was simply awesome in his first career NHL start on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Still, the Maple Leafs have always had a tough time against the Bruins and, despite Boston’s poor record, a win tonight would go a long way in convincing the masses that the Buds are for real. It’s a statement game for the Maple Leafs, here’s hoping they make the right one.
Until next time,