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Bear Essentials: Toronto vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
12:52 p.m.

Sixteen games to go.

Where the heck did the season go, folks?

Let's take a look at how things stand (courtesy of

Washington Capitals Conference standings reflect the order in which teams would qualify for the playoffs. Division leaders (marked with a *) are automatically seeded first through third.

Eastern Conference
Rank   GP W L   OT Pts GF GA Home Away L10
1 Pittsburgh Penguins* 68 38 23   7 83 200 185 19-10-5 19-13-2 6-2-2
2 Montréal Canadiens* 67 36 22   9 81 213 190 16-12-5 20-10-4 7-3-0
3 Carolina Hurricanes* 69 35 29   5 75 209 216 19-12-3 16-17-2 7-2-1
4 New Jersey Devils 67 38 23   6 82 176 157 21-12-1 17-11-5 6-2-2
5 Ottawa Senators 68 37 24   7 81 219 205 20-12-3 17-12-4 3-5-2
6 Boston Bruins 66 35 24   7 77 179 181 17-12-4 18-12-3 7-1-2
7 New York Rangers 67 34 24   9 77 178 168 21-13-1 13-11-8 7-0-3
8 Philadelphia Flyers 67 33 26   8 74 205 194 14-13-6 19-13-2 3-4-3
9 Buffalo Sabres 68 32 27   9 73 206 197 17-13-4 15-14-5 4-5-1
10 Washington Capitals 68 32 28   8 72 200 203 17-14-3 15-14-5 5-3-2
11 New York Islanders 68 32 29   7 71 168 196 17-15-3 15-14-4 6-4-0
12 Toronto Maple Leafs 68 29 29   10 68 187 212 16-13-5 13-16-5 6-3-1
13 Florida Panthers 69 30 31   8 68 182 196 12-13-7 18-18-1 4-4-2
14 Atlanta Thrashers 68 29 32   7 65 181 225 16-15-3 13-17-4 2-5-3
15 Tampa Bay Lightning 66 26 33   7 59 183 215 16-17-2 10-16-5 3-6-1
Vancouver CanucksToronto Maple LeafsTampa Bay LightningSt. Louis BluesSan Jose SharksPittsburgh PenguinsPhoenix CoyotesPhiladelphia FlyersOttawa SenatorsNew York RangersNew York IslandersNew Jersey DevilsNashville PredatorsMontreal CanadiensMinnesota WildLos Angeles KingsFlorida PanthersEdmonton OilersDetroit Red WingsDallas StarsColumbus Blue JacketsColorado AvalancheChicago BlackhawksCarolina HurricanesCalgary FlamesBuffalo SabresBoston BruinsAtlanta Thrashers
So, thankfully there is still some slight separation between the B's and the Sabres in 9th. But that same separation is between the Black & Gold and the Senators.

Glen Metropolit
The game in hand comes into play. Assuming, of course, that the B's can win the extra game or two, then they could challenge the Senators and the Habs for home ice.

Glen Metropolit spoke for pretty much everyone in the room when he said, "Every game is huge -- We know that.

"Toronto is pushing to try and make the playoffs [and] they have a confident group over there.

"They are playing much better...and we have to pick our game up," said Metro.

Metropolit said that the club just has to get back to playing "Bruins hockey."

"Last game we had 40 shots -- you can take some good things out of that -- you can take some bad things out of it, too.

"But we were playing great before...and you have to keep your head up. That's hockey!"

3:15 p.m.
Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
Many of you enjoyed Shawn Thornton's segment  in yesterday's Bear Essentials. So, for the rest of the regular season and hopefully into the playoffs, Mr. Thornton will grace our humble site with his wit and wisdom.

As a member of last season's Stanley Cup champions, we expect that Shawn will have plenty of insight as the B's enter into the stretch run.

This morning Shawn took us through morning skate and spoke about the Maple Leafs.
Just click on Shawn's picture to see his vlog or click this link.

3:39 p.m.
BTW: For my fantasy players...
Start Timmy. Ward is out. And I think the rest of the lineup looks like it did on Tuesday.

4:22 p.m.
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
"Ya, it's a big game tonight," said Vladimir Sobotka. "That's true.

"Coach said we had to be focused and be ready."

Vladi doesn't say much, but he said a mouthful, there.

"I think every player in this dressing room understands," said Coach Julien. "We are [only] as good as we play as a team.

"Our team play, our team philosophy all year, has gotten us this far."

What has been the issue over the last couple of games, Coach?

"We were a little sloppy in our execution," he said, "whether it has been d-zone coverage, neutral zone, forcheck -- we're not totally there.

"And it doesn't take much to throw everything off."

5:28 p.m.
This is where we are at (I think):
Chara-Wideman (sg)Auld
Ference-Hnidy (bg)Thomas
Stuart-Allen Go Bruins!

6:05 p.m.
Hey. A nice stat...

With the point they earned on Tuesday, the B's surpassed their entire point total from last year and are now at 77.

One more win will also surpass last year's total of 35.

And there are still 15 more games after tonight!

6:48 p.m.
After watching warmups my guess above looks to be correct...

7:01 p.m.
Video montage. Crowd filling in.

First Period
0:00 Tim Thomas in goal. Axie, Savvy, Muzz, with Wides and Chara on the blue.

1:00 Outstanding start for Boston. Lots of pressure.

5:00 Big Zee almost put the B's ahead. Hit the post, dead on.

7:54 I didn't see what Dennis did wrong. B's on the PK.

8:55 Big save Timmay!

9:33 I saw that one. Steen takes down Hnidy. B's on the PP.

11:40 Fantastic play by David Krejci, pass to Peter Schaefer, five hole, goal! David seems to get better and better...

14:42 Penalty B's. PP Buds. Goal. 1-1.

19:00 Very sleepy second half of the period.

20:00 Tim looks good. And that was a great goal. But the B's need a bit more spark.

First Intermission
Got to say hello to my brother Andrew and his lovely bride Stef!

Second Period
1:17 Not exactly the start the B's needed. Ponikarovsky scores in impressive fashion. 2-1, Leafs.

3:09 Bruins are having a tough time of it early this period. Toronto on the PP.

4:48 Tough goal. McCabe's shot deflected off a Bruin defender and into the Boston net. 3-1, Toronto.

8:05 Not very good. Play under review -- Goal. 4-1, Leafs.

10:57 Ten guys go into the corner and ONE guy comes out with a penalty? Hmmmm.

11:50 5-1, Toronto. Alex Auld is coming in.

20:00 One tough twenty. No doubt about it.

Third Period
00:49 Alex made his first save. The B's aren't displaying any more oomph...

1:35 B's PP. They are 0-for-2 on the man advantage.

2:10 Nice series of saves by Toskala.

3:00 The Toronto goalie is doing his best Johnny Bower. Just outstanding.

5:32 Four-on-four for a bit, but T.O. gets a power play...

6:44 Tucker scores. The sixth Toronto goal is certainly the coup de grâce on this game. Very unfortunate. Look for updates to the front page and recap after the game.

If the B's can climb back in, I will hop back on. Go Bruins! JB

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