Tyler Seguin Shines In Bruins Victory Over Maple Leafs

October 28th, 2010 2 Comments

Heading into Thursday night game against the Boston Bruins many Toronto Maple Leafs fans were anxious to see Phil Kessel play his first game against Tyler Seguin—the player the Maple Leafs could have drafted had Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke not made the deal to acquire Kessel.

While nobody expected to be able to end the debate of which team won the trade (which saw Burke give up two first rounders and a second round pick in return for Kessel) we all felt it sure would be fun to watch the two players collide.

Handicapped by a roster that did not include Colby Armstrong (hand injury) and Kris Versteeg (back issues) the Maple Leafs were already heading into Boston at a disadvantage, add the fact that Boston dominated the Maple Leafs last season and you had yourself a recipe for disaster, which, as it turns out, came to fruition.

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas—who entered the night with a 4-0-0 record and a 0.75 goals against average—stood on his head all night, keeping the Maple Leafs off the scoreboard making 20 saves, earning his second shut out of the season and lowering his goals against average to a miniscule “0.60”—that’s no typo!

Thomas had the benefit of about 25 blocked shots and the Maple Leafs forwards and defense continued to be snake-bitten (especially Kessel, who has six shots and probably missed another six chances). That said, Thomas was full value for the win and must be congratulated on an impressive start after a tough 2009-10 season which saw him lose his starters role to Tuukka Rask.

Toronto continued to struggle on the power play, often finding themselves in their own zone, with limited pressure at the other end.

On this night it was all Bruins—simply put, the Maple Leafs could not execute, which cost them the two points.

With just 11:42 in icetime (including 1:38 on the power play) Tyler Seguin played a limited role for the Bruins Thursday night, but he did manage to score the Bruins second goal—a sizzling wrist shot that eluded Maple Leafs netminder Jonas Gustavsson.

While one could hardly say that the Kessel/Seguin debate was solved this evening, Seguin did win the battle of the scoreboard 1-0, which should give the Bruins organization a certain level of satisfaction.

For their part the Boston Bruins fans seemed thrilled with Seguin, booing Kessel every time he touched the puck and chanting “Thank you Kessel” throughout the contest.

The Bruins are now 5-2-0 on the season, good enough for 12th overall in the standings and third overall in the Eastern Conference—one point behind the Maple Leafs (5-3-1), who have now played two more games than the Bruins.

Despite their 4-0-1 start, the Maple Leafs have now gone a mediocre 1-3-0 in their past four games, leaving many Maple Leafs fans to ask a lot of familiar questions—where has the scoring gone? Why can’t the Leafs score on the power play? Where is Mikhail Grabovski when you need him? and when is Brian Burke going to pull off that deal for a true first line centre?

All in all, while the Maple Leafs did try, their effort wasn’t good enough—in fact, it may have been their worst game of the season.

The missed opportunities on the power play, the lack of focus and chemistry up front, the constant bumbling of the puck, the lack of physical play and the reality that this team has lost Armstrong for an extended period of time and Versteeg to what end up being an ongoing injury is very troubling indeed!

Luca Caputi and John Mitchell were inserted into the lineup for the injured Armstrong and Versteeg—neither one had a positive effect on the game, combining for two shots and looking out of place at times during the game.

The question that I have is this: if not now, when will John Mitchell ever be ready? In my mind this guy is on a short leash and, if he doesn’t string together a few good games in a row, should be banished to the AHL forever.

Caputi is another story—he just needs more seasoning—his effort was there and he loves to mix things up.

If the Maple Leafs can take one positive from the game it’s that Jonas Gustavsson played well, stopping 30 of 32 shots and looking very confident in doing so.

For my money I’d go back to Gustavsson against the New York Rangers on Saturday night, but head coach Ron Wilson seems to be leaning towards rotating his goaltenders, which, for the most part, has worked.

Next up for the Maple Leafs, they will take on the Rangers for the third time this season, followed by back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals next Tuesday and Wednesday night.

With injuries, lack of chemistry and lack of execution playing a role in the Maple Leafs loss to the Bruins it appears as if the Leafs will have their work cut out for them.

Until next time,

Peace!

2 Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    So which is it? Thomas stood on his head all night, but had the benefit of 25 blocked shots, but gets full credit for the win? Even though it was all Bruins? And the Leafs worst game of the season? And Seguin shines in the headline, but “played a limited role” in the article. ???

  2. MarkRitter says:

    Hi Ryan—thanks for the comment!

    Thomas made some spectacular saves—also benefited from all the blocked shots, yes!

    Seguin shined because in a two goal game he had a goal.

    Thanks for coming out!

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