TORONTO CANADA - DECEMBER 4: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores shoot-out winnn goal against Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins during game action at the Air Canada Centre December 4 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images)
Former Bruins' property Kris Versteeg and Phil Kessel would prove to be the difference tonight as the Bruins lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. A power play goal by Kris Versteeg with 43 second left in the game tied the game up at 2-2 to force overtime and eventually a shootout. In the shootout, it was Phil Kessel that netted the game-winner for the Leafs as they snapped a 4-game losing streak.
It appeared that the Maple Leafs had taken a 1-0 lead 3:09 into the game. Tim Thomas made a stop, but the puck came loose after Zdeno Chara was pushed into Thomas's crease by someone in a Leafs sweater. The puck was smothered under Thomas body's and part of his body crossed the line, but it was impossible to tell if the puck crossed the line. The call on the ice was a washed out, which was upheld after a video review.
Nathan Horton gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 4:48 into the game with a toe-drag snap shot from the slot after a Leafs' turnover for his 9th goal of the season.
Tempers flared 8:40 into the game when Shawn Thornton and Jay Rosehill dropped the gloves. Thornton came to the aid of linemate Gregory Campbell, who took a big hit from Rosehill along the boards. The fight was a typical Thornton bout: both fighters came out swinging, each landed a few shots, and the linemen got bored with the fight long before the fighters did. Thornton was tagged with 5 for fighting and 2 for roughing, while Rosehill received 5 for fighting and 2 for boarding.
Carl Gunnarsson's first goal of the season tied it up for Toronto with 4:07 to play in the first period. Nazem Kadri brought the puck into the zone, cut back against the grain, and fired a shot. Kadri's shot was blocked by Dennis "Dikembe" Seidenberg and the rebound trickled down to Tyler Bozak near the right circle. Bozak thread a perfect pass through the legs of Zdeno Chara to Gunnarsson at the left post. Gunnarsson had plenty of net to shoot at from point blank range and he calmly deposited the puck into the net for his first goal of the '10-'11 campaign.
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead at 6:08 of the third period on a goal by Gregory Campbell. Campbell came off the bench on a line change and saved the puck from exiting the the Bruins offensive zone before passing the puck to Tyler Seguin at the left circle. Seguin quickly fed the puck back to Campbell in the slot and Campbell released a quick shot to complete the give-and-go play for his third goal of the season.
With Patrice Bergeron looking on the box after a holding call, Kris Versteeg knotted the game up at 2-2 with 43 seconds left in the third period. Clarke MacArthur's one-time drive from the right point sailed wide right of the net and bounced off the end boards to Versteeg at the bottom of the left circle. Versteeg popped the puck into a wide open net for the equalizer that would send the game to overtime.
The Leafs had a golden chance to win the game about a minute and a half into overtime, but Tim Thomas robbed Francois Beauchemin with a full-extension diving glove save that I am sure will be shown on highlight reels for quite some time.
With the game tied up at 2-2 after 65 minutes of hockey, the game headed to the shootout:
Leafs 1st Shooter: Nazem Kadri roofed a backhander on the glove side. 1-0 Leafs
B's 1st Shooter: Tyler Seguin beat Jean Sebastien Giguere with a backhander low on the stick side. 1-1
Leafs 2nd Shooter: Nikolai Kulemin's forehander bid on the stick side was kicked out by Thomas.
B's 2nd Shooter: David Krejci skated in slow, faked a shot and went to the forehand, which was stopped by the left pad of Giguere.
Leafs 3rd Shooter: Tim Thomas made the initial stop on Phil Kessel's shot but his momentum carried him back over the goal line. 2-1 Leafs
B's 3rd Shooter: Micahel Ryder's wrister rings the post on the stick side. Leafs win
- Tim Thomas' potential Save of the Year:
- Tim Thomas (38 saves) was outstanding again tonight and really kept the Bruins in this game. The Bruins are developing a bad habit of allowing way too many shots and relying far too heavily on their goalie. The Bruins were out-shot 40-27 tonight.
- A lot of people including the NESN broadcast crew were complaining about the holding call on Patrice Bergeron late in the third period that led to Kris Versteeg's game tying goal. The reality is that taking your hand off of your stick and grabbing the shoulder of an opponent with your free hand to slow him up is a text book hold in the "new NHL". I have no problem with the call. Bergeron has to be more disciplined late in the game.
- The Bruins wore their home black jerseys on the road due to the Maple Leafs' request to the league to wear their white throwback-style third jerseys.
- I didn't write down the quote, but after the game NESN aired a locker room interview with Tim Thomas where he essentially used the dry scrapped ice used in shootouts as an excuse for Phil Kessel's goal in the shootout
- Johnny Boychuk finished the game +2 and had a team-high 4 hits.
- Face-offs were even at 27-27.
- Crazy Stat of the Night: Patrice Bergeron took 25 of the 50 draws tonight (15 wins, 10 losses; 60%)
- The Bruins are back at it on Tueaday night when they return home to take on the Buffalo Sabres.
- For more on tonight's game, go see what our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets are saying.
UPDATE (11:01 PM): I forget to add this: What the hell was Claude Julein thinking going with Ryder in the shootout? Ryder is 4 for 25 in the shootout. He has one move in the shootout: wrister from the slot. Everyone watching that game including Giguere knew what he was going to do.