By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, MA – In front of 17, 565 fans, the Boston Bruins [31-19-7] and Toronto Maple Leafs [24-27-6] faced off for the fourth time this season, but in the end, a majority of the “Black and Gold” fan faithful left the TD Garden unsatisfied. The Maple Leafs earned an important road victory Tuesday, as they defeated the Bruins, 4-3.
“It’s one of those situations where if you have any sense of pride your embarrassed about tonight,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “Not because the other team played well [but because] we did not play to the level that we should be playing and its unacceptable.”
The first period began with the Bruins playing unimpressive and out of sync hockey. Their passing was horrendous, they didn’t skate well or move the puck, although they were able to account for 14-shots on the Maple Leaf’s goaltender James Reimer [32-saves] during the opening period. As for the defense, they did receive some extra help from goaltender Tim Thomas [24-saves] who didn’t have his greatest game between the pipes.
“I don’t have an analysis yet, it’s just too early after the game. I mean, not a big enough picture to analysis to make one,” said a frustrated Thomas after the loss.
Yet, despite Boston’s early struggles to score points, they did manage to record one goal when Mark Stuart and Gregory Campbell assisted Daniel Paille, which gave the Bruins an early lead.
“I was fortunate and got a lucky bounce off [Mike] Komisarek, I think it was his foot, so you know, I’ll take it there, but I’d rather have that one. It was a lucky bounce for us there,” said Paille when asked about scoring the Bruins first goal.
The Maple Leafs later responded on their second power play of the game when Phil Kessel scored his first goal since January and helped Toronto even the score before the first intermission.
“I haven’t scored in fourteen games, so it was nice to get a couple in tonight,” said Kessel.
Mikhail Grabovski began the second period with an impressive goal for the Maple Leafs, which gave Toronto the lead for the majority of the second period until Campbell netted the second goal for the Bruins.
As the final period began, Boston once again appeared desperate on offense, but also exhibited that their defense seemed either over tired or completely out of gas. Although, the Bruins offense eventually worked together to produce their third goal in the contests, as Adam McQuaid and Mark Recchi set up Patrice Bergeron to score what appeared to be the go-ahead goal.
Although, Boston’s lackluster performance continued, which allowed Kessel to tie the game and Grabovski to win it.
“[I was mad because] I didn’t stop it and the fact that [Kessel] lost the puck right before he scored and that’s what threw me off. That’s what made me open up my legs because he lost the puck and I tried to adjust,” said Thomas.
“That was without a doubt Phil’s best game, not just because he scored, [but] he was in on the forecheck,” said Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson.
The Bruins will regroup following an upsetting loss on Wednesday and look to snap their three-game losing streak against the New York Islanders on Thursday, which also marks the beginning of a six-game road trip.
“What’s happening to us is what we deserve. If we can’t play better than that, we shouldn’t expect more than that. I think we have to take responsibility. We have to stop making excuses and take charge of the situation starting [Wednesday],” said Julien.