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Bear Essentials: Toronto vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Let's not dally.

This is where our heroes stand:

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
1 x - MONTREAL* 77 43 24   10 96 247 213 20-13-6 23-11-4 7-2-1
2 x - PITTSBURGH* 77 44 26   7 95 236 208 23-10-5 21-16-2 7-3-0
3 CAROLINA* 77 41 30   6 88 234 236 22-12-4 19-18-2 8-1-1
4 NEW JERSEY 76 42 27   7 91 191 182 22-14-2 20-13-5 5-4-1
5 OTTAWA 77 42 28   7 91 249 232 22-13-3 20-15-4 5-4-1
6 NY RANGERS 76 39 26   11 89 199 186 23-13-2 16-13-9 5-2-3
7 PHILADELPHIA 77 39 28   10 88 233 221 19-14-6 20-14-4 6-2-2
8 BOSTON 76 38 28   10 86 199 211 19-15-4 19-13-6 3-4-3
9 WASHINGTON 77 38 31   8 84 224 225 20-15-3 18-16-5 7-3-0
10 BUFFALO 76 35 30   11 81 238 228 19-15-5 16-15-6 4-4-2
11 FLORIDA 77 36 32   9 81 206 212 18-13-8 18-19-1 8-1-1
12 TORONTO 77 35 32   10 80 219 239 17-16-5 18-16-5 6-4-0
13 NY ISLANDERS 77 34 36   7 75 185 228 18-17-3 16-19-4 3-7-0
14 ATLANTA 77 31 38   8 70 204 259 18-18-3 13-20-5 2-7-1
15 TAMPA BAY 76 30 38   8 68 214 246 19-17-2 11-21-6 4-5-1

There were no games in the East last night. So, using Mr. Mirtle's protocol (, he believes 92 points should do it in terms of making it into the Eastern Conference playoffs), which is as good a protocol as I have found, the B's stand thusly:

Eastern Conference (92 points)
Montreal - qualified, March 20
Pittsburgh - qualified, March 22
New Jersey - 0-5-1
Ottawa - 0-4-1
N.Y. Rangers - 2-5-0
Carolina - 2-3-0
Philadelphia - 2-3-0
Boston - 3-3-0
Washington - 4-1-0
Buffalo - 5-1-1
Florida - max 91 points
Toronto - max 90 points
N.Y. Islanders - max 85 points
Atlanta - max 80 points
Tampa Bay - max 80 points

Granted, I have heard everything from 90-94 points in terms of garnering a playoff spot, but with the three point games (for the uninitiated, teams get one point for an overtime/shootout loss and two for a win) it is very hard to predict a hard and fast magic number.

Again, the above guess says the B's have to go, 3-3-0.

The bottom line -- Boston needs to focus on the W, in regulation, every night for the time being, before they settle into any false sense of security.

11:52 a.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.
I've got bad news and I've got good news and I've got just plain news...

First the bad:
1.) Chuck Kobasew is out with a broken Tibia (at least four weeks).
2.) Marc Savard is out until at least Monday (he'll be re-evaluated then).
3.) Andrew Ference is out for tonight and is day-to-day.

The good:
Patrice Bergeron passed his neuro/psych test. Which, long story short, means that he has made one more step towards returning, but there is still no concrete timetable for that return.

In other news:
Tim Thomas will start in goal tonight and forward Peter Schaefer will return to the lineup. Defenseman Matt Lashoff remains in Boston as an emergency call-up to replace Ference.

12:22 p.m.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli called the media together to address the Bruins injury situation.

"Chuck Kobasew suffered a fractured tibia and will be out four weeks, up to eight weeks, depending on how [the injury] heals.

"Patrice passed his neuro/psych test and that was a very good step.

"Savvy, we are going to evaluate after the weekend, so he'll miss the weekend games [including this evening].

"Ference is still day-to-day with the knee.

"I have no update on Alberts."

And with that, the Bruins learned, yet again, that they will be without two key players going into their pivotal last six games.

"It's tough luck," said Chiarelli, speaking specifically about Alberts, Bergeron, Savard and, now, Kobasew. "Luckily, our guys have stepped up."

Stepping up was the theme when Coach Julien spoke to the media.

"Well, I think we dealt with it pretty well [starting] at the beginning of last game," said Coach. "[Chuck] only had a couple of shifts.

"It's something that we have had to face, almost, from day one.

"It's a situation that we've been in with injuries all year and I don't think anything changes," he said.

In other words, full speed ahead.

"You have to rely on the people you play hard and play well," continued Julien. "I think for the most part our team has answered that call pretty well."

Coach reiterated that the system remains extraordinarily important, particularly as it has allowed young players to excel in the NHL.

"They play, pretty well, the same way in Providence," said Julien. "It's not a real big adjustment for them. And sometimes you've gotta trust that the system is going to do the work for you.

"And when everyone is on the same page, it certainly makes things a lot easier."

5:53 p.m.
Yes, I am late. But you still know as much as I do. And we had a couple of nice things get announced on the front page -- Andrew Ference donating sneakers and six Bruins shaving their heads for MassGeneral.

The boys will come out of the room for warmups pretty soon and I should have a decent idea of who's playing where, soon.

6:40 p.m.
Okay, my friends. The B's were led out of the room by Timmy Thomas.

The rest of it looks like this:
Chara-Ward (sg)Thomas
Lashoff-Wideman (bg)Auld
Hnidy-Stuart Go Bruins!

You'll notice some changes, of course.

I'll be commenting from here for the rest of the evening, so don't go anywhere!

7:02 p.m.
Nice job fans. Milan Lucic is the 7th Player Award Winner! Outstanding pick!

First Period
0:00 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championships are being celebrated in a pregame ceremony.
The games will be held in Marlborough, MA. The pregame event tonight is acting as an opening ceremony to the event -- very nice!

Good luck to's a free event, from March 29 to April 5th.

3:30 We've had a somewhat sleepy first few moments, with the B's putting three decent shots on goal. Not sure you noticed, but Antropov and Sundin are in the Toronto lineup.

5:30 No whistles. And I'll be honest, the Maple Leafs have not come out with the fire I thought they would. The B's, ya a little erratic, but they are in pretty strange lineup.

9:30 Still no whistles. Downright strange. Peter Schaefer has played very well, as has the B's fourth line. Tim has had to make five pretty tough saves on Toronto.

11:00 Antropov just missed a yawning Boston goal. Very lucky it is 0-0.

12:42 First whistle. Timmy makes a save and calms the place down. It was pretty neat to see the game go so long without stopping. But it was beginning to favor the Leafs and it was smart for the B's to hold the puck.

16:00 We've had one whistle and neither team has gathered the momentum for very long. Fine for the B's, as I said they are working through strange lines...

16:47 Krech just made a hightlight reel passing play to Sturm. 1-0. Check the highlights after the game. David held the puck for the exact right amount of time to dish to the flying Sturm. Very, very pretty.

18:38 Tucker in the box for a high stick. B's first PP.

20:00 We'll take it. Nice period for the newfangled B's who lead 1-0.

Second Period
0:00 Two more like the first, boys.

3:48 Things are heating up. Reicher mashed Kubina with a big hit.

4:47 Toronto just scored on a very confused set of B's. 1-1.

6:30 Sobotka gets robbed on a point blank shot.

8:27 The B's are still looking a little uneven. Some great plays sandwiched between bad plays.
8:49 A rolling-pin styled save by Thomas.

11:41 The B's will be on the PK. They really need to snap out of some second period doldrums, as Toronto has taken scontrol of the stanza.

14:32 Boston killed the penalty and came out of the box to give the Maple Leafs some trouble.

15:04 Almost. Toskala needed to make a dandy on a deflected shot.

16:52 After a couple of minutes of sustained pressure by Boston, they earned a PP.

19:11 Another BIG save by Toskala.

20:00 Boston survives the second. Tim settled in hand made some big saves at the end of the session (he has 25 total) and several of the B's youngsters made it difficult on the Maple Leaf defense.

Third Period
0:00 We need a goal.

4:00 The Leafs are daring the B's to skate with them...

5:00 Two outstanding chances for Lucic, who is showing why he was the Fans choice for Seventh Player.

5:47 Thank Gooooooooooooooness. Kessssssssss! A penalty shot move and a goal for the sophomore. 2-1, Boston.

9:43 A defensive miscue lead to a terrific opportunity for Toronto -- it ran into Thomas. And on the ensuing play the B's picked up a PP.

10:54 Murray scored the goal, but there was another big play by Krejci to start the whole thing. 3-1, Boston.

12:49 There's 7:11 on the clock -- make a wish!

13:47 B's on the PK.

15:01 Kubina scores. It's nailbitin' time again, my friends. The B's have to bring whatever is left to the ice, right now.

15:24 Schaefer does just that. Beautiful feed from Sobotka and Schaef puts the lead back to two. Boston leads 4-2.

20:00 Just made it down to the victorious locker room. Nice result!
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