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(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Boston Bruins played arguably their most complete game Saturday night versus the Leafs at the Garden, beating the Maple Leafs 3-1 in the first meeting between the two teams since the epic first-round match-up in last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was a full 60-minute effort, the second straight game in which the B's have brought their A-game to their opponents. Thursday nights 4-1 win over Florida resulted in a total team meltdown and the dismissal of all coaches from behind the bench (tough luck for former Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay).

I don't think we'll be seeing quite the same actions from Toronto, but they'll have plenty to chew on after such a bruising game versus the B's.

The game saw a total of 80 hits, 68 shots on net, 32 PIMs, which all equals a whole lotta' bashing. On the other side, both teams were on their skating game and flying, resulting in plenty of up-and-down rushes and slick puck movement.

After a Adam McQuaid bout with Leaf Frazer McLaren in the first two minutes of the game, the first period sped by rather quickly, with both teams trading scoring chances. McQuaid would later leave the game with an injury (looked like a groin tweak) and did not return.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Captain Zdeno Chara struck first blood on the powerplay at 15:27. Off a faceoff in the Leafs' zone, Jarome Iginla drove the net and lost the puck ahead of him. He quickly swatted it back through the crease and under James Reimer, where Chara was waiting, planted in the crease to slap the goal home.

Tuukka Rask, who played another solid game between the pipes, stonewalled Jake Gardiner on a two-on-one with Joffrey Lupul. It was about as timely as you can be, with the shot coming just a minute after Chara's goal.

The Maple Leafs really turned the tables on the B's in the second period, as they brought it right to the Bruins for almost the entire period.

Lupul would eventually tie the game at 16:52 of the second, driving the zone all the way before ripping a shot over Rask's short-side post. It was Rask's only real blemish on the night; it was a tremendous snipe from Lupul, but Rask cannot get beat short-side over the shoulder like that.

After a James van Riemsdyk highstick double minor to Johnny Boychuck late in the 2nd spilled over into the 3rd, Patrice Bergeron cleaned up the rebound off a Carl Soderberg backhander that hit Reimer's glove and fell right in front of Bergeron just outside the crease, and he made no mistake in burying it home.

Bergeron would later add the empty netter, with the primary assist coming from Loui Eriksson. Loui out-hustled Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf in the corner and chipped the puck over to Bergeron, who was parked in the crease to seal the deal.

The frantic pace kept up through the entire game; both teams at different points saw extended periods of time in the attacking zone, the Bruins with over two minutes straight in the first, and the Leafs in the second period with nearly a minute and a half straight.


  • Doug Hamilton played his strongest game of the season by far. He was active in all three zones, broke up plenty of rushes, one by pulling a Chara-esque stick swipe to break up a scoring chance. He was second to only Torey Krug for time on the PP with 1:52, and he made every second count, zipping passes across the zone on the tape and setting up plenty of chances. 
  • As was mentioned, Bruins D-man Adam McQuaid went down without contact in the first and crumpled to the ice, reaching for his groin/leg/hip. It didn't look good, and the fact that he didn't return adds to the assumption that we could be looking at some time missed for Quaider.
  • Tuukka Rask put forth another sterling effort, save for the one misplay on Lupul's goal. His stats for the season now sit at a 1.68 GAA and a .942 save percentage, placing him in the top-five in the NHL for both categories.
  • Jarome Iginla recorded his third fight of the year, with new free agent signing David Clarkson being the dance partner this time. I'm just worried about who will fight Phanuef now that Nathan Horton has taken his talents to Columbus. 
  • Phil Kessel did not register a point with three SOG and 21:11 of ice time. And just like old times, we were treated to the original "Kessel vs the B's" version of Phillip and not the "Wunderkind-Kessel" we saw in the playoffs last May. 

The Bruins have another Atlantic division tilt coming up on Veteran's day versus the white-hot Tampa Bay Lighting. It's a 1:00 matinee start, so most likely the Bruins will lose 1-0 after a Lightning powerplay goal in the first five minutes of the game. 

But let's hope for a different result. 

Mark Burke 11/10/2013 12:19:00 AM Edit

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