The Bear Cave

March 5, 2010 2:47 AM

Boston's New 81 Steals the Old 81's Show

When the Boston Bruins traded away Phil Kessel, many fans worried, as Boston's offense took a significant hit. On Thursday night, Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs made their final visit of the season to the TD Garden, and number 81 proved to be the hero. No, not that number 81 - the Bruins' number 81. Miroslav Satan scored in the third round of the shootout, lifting Boston to a 3-2 win on home ice.

Following Tuesday night's disappointing loss to Montreal, the Bruins wanted to get off to a strong start. Barely one minute into the contest, the home team nearly took the lead. Steve Begin wrapped the puck around the back of the net, centering a pass to an oncoming Michael Ryder. Ryder deflected the puck in, appearing to have given Boston a 1-0 lead. However, video replay revealed a kicking motion by Ryder, wiping the goal off of the scoreboard.

Boston continued to play strong throughout the beginning of the game, and that eventually paid off with a goal that counted. Tomas Kaberle spun the puck around the boards of the Maple Leafs' offensive zone, hitting it so hard that Shawn Thornton was able to gain possession at his own blueline. Thornton kept the play moving forward, springing Miroslav Satan ahead with an outlet pass on his backhand. Satan carried the puck to the top of the left circle, before beating Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a wrist shot through the legs.

A few minutes later, the two teams really got to know each other well, as a pair of fights took place. Milan Lucic and Colton Orr got things started, dropping the gloves on a face-off in center ice. Lucic hung in their against his experienced opponent, but Orr had the final say, landing more punches. The next face-off took place in the Bruins' defensive zone, and it took one second for Shawn Thornton and Wayne Primeau to start firing. This time, the Boston player picked up the win, as Thornton gained the edge in the short tussle.

The two fights might have sparked the Maple Leafs, as they got the equalizer less than two minutes later. Francois Beauchemin started the play in his own zone, passing the puck ahead to Jamie Lundmark. Lundmark quickly tapped a cross-ice pass to Viktor Stalberg, who picked up steam as he skated up the left side of the ice. Once he reached the face-off dot, Stahlman let a wrist shot go, finding a hole underneath Tim Thomas' right arm.

With one minute remaining in the first period, Toronto had an opportunity to take the lead. Phil Kessel stole the puck at his own blueline, and skated the other way on a breakaway. The former Bruin went from his forehand to his backhand, but a right pad save by Thomas kept the game tied at one.

The score stayed that way for most of the middle frame, until the Bruins regained their lead with 4:36 remaining. Mark Recchi carried the puck in on the right side of the offensive zone, attempting a pass for David Krejci behind the net. The pass was blocked, but Marco Sturm stepped up to help his teammate, tossing a pass back to Johnny Boychuk at the right point. Boychuk stepped into Sturm's pass, blasting an absolute laser past Giguere. The goal was the third of Boychuk's career, and all three have been hammered.

Boston carried the 2-1 advantage into the third period, but at the 6:12 mark, another rookie tied the game for the Maple Leafs. Luca Caputi had just finished serving a penalty for Colton Orr, and immediately inserted himself into the play. Caputi got the puck on the left side of the offensive zone, before handing off for Nikolai Kulemin. Kulemin centered a pass through the crease to Tyler Bozak, who crashed the net for his fourth goal in the NHL.

With approximately eleven minutes left in regulation, the Bruins came inches away from going up by one. Marc Savard had Giguere down and out on the right side of the crease, but rang a shot off of the far post. Meanwhile, Toronto was also getting frustrated, as Thomas continued to deny some golden opportunities from in close.

Neither team was able to score in the final minutes of the game, sending the tilt into overtime, and eventually into a shootout.

David Krejci led off for Boston, but lost control of the puck before getting a shot off. The Maple Leafs immediately turned to Phil Kessel for their first shot, but he also came up empty, as Thomas made a glove save. Michael Ryder and Jamie Lundmark each missed in round two, sending the shootout into the third round with no scoring. Miroslav Satan broke the deadlock for the Bruins, faking a shot, before sliding a backhander inside of the right post. That left the game in the hands of Tyler Bozak. The Toronto rookie tried to split the legs of Thomas, but the netminder kept it out, giving his team the important extra point.

In three games at the TD Garden this season, Phil Kessel was held without a point, and the Maple Leafs were held without a victory.

Despite only making 24 saves during the game, Tim Thomas turned in a spectacular performance. Three of those stops came on Toronto breakaways, while a few odd-man rushes led to some more frustration for the visitors. Thomas earned the win, while also getting the game's first star. After a bit of a shaky start, Jean-Sebastien Giguere settled down, turning aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced for the Maple Leafs. However, a 2-for-3 effort in the shootout found him on the short end.

The Boston Bruins will now head on the road for seven straight games, starting Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Scoring Summary:
1. BOS Satan (4) (Thornton) 9:36
1. TOR Stalberg (3) (Beauchemin, Lundmark) 15:27
2. BOS Boychuk (3) (Sturm, Recchi) 15:24
3. TOR Bozak (4) (Kulemin, Caputi) 6:12

TOR Phil Kessel- S
TOR Jamie Lundmark- S
TOR Tyler Bozak- S

BOS David Krejci- S
BOS Michael Ryder- S
BOS Miroslav Satan- G

Penalty Summary:
1. TOR Stalberg- Holding 6:03
1. BOS Seidenberg- Delay of Game 11:10
1. TOR Orr- Fighting 13:45
1. BOS Lucic- Fighting 13:45
1. TOR Primeau- Fighting 13:46
1. BOS Thornton- Fighting 13:46
1. TOR Phaneuf- Slashing 14:37
1. BOS Sturm- Hooking 14:44
2. BOS Hunwick- Tripping 2:47
2. BOS Wideman- Holding 8:17
3. TOR Orr- Roughing (Double-Minor) 3:58
3. BOS Begin- Roughing 3:58


TOR Jean-Sebastien Giguere (6-11-6): 31 shots, 29 saves
BOS Tim Thomas (14-15-7): 26 shots, 24 saves

Shots on Goal:
TOR 8-6-8-4-0=26
BOS 9-11-9-2-1=32

Power Plays:
TOR 0-for-4
BOS 0-for-3

Three Stars of the Game:
1- BOS Tim Thomas
2- BOS Steve Begin
3- BOS Miroslav Satan

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