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Game Day: Bruins @ Leafs

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston  3 4 0 7

Toronto  3 1 1 5

BOS:  Kobasew, C. (05:40 in 1st), Ryder, M. (08:50 in 1st), Recchi, M. (PPG, 19:33 in 1st), Recchi, M. (PPG, 09:01 in 2nd), Thornton, S. (11:30 in 2nd), Krejci, D. (12:44 in 2nd), Wheeler, B. (17:04 in 2nd)
TOR:  Kulemin, N. (04:01 in 1st), Mitchell, J. (PPG, 12:04 in 1st), Ponikarovsky, A. (17:00 in 1st), Ponikarovsky, A. (06:06 in 2nd), Hagman, N. (14:39 in 3rd)
0:00 - Manny and Co. hang on for a tough win in a crazy game.

39.0 - Axelsson prevents an icing with a terrific and self-sacrificing play...

59.0 - Thornton just missed Toronto's open net.

2:56 - Ditto.

3:15 - Fernandez grabs the puck and holds on.

5:21 - Hagman took advantage of a prone and screened Fernandez and beat the Boston goalie high. It's 7-5, Boston.

5:43 - Tempers are flaring. Not smart for the B's to take it any farther, with the game tomorrow. But Toronto has nothing to lose.

8:39 - A scrum in front of Fernandez. Nothing comes of it.

9:25 - Montador and Schenn went at it this time. Monty came to Stephane Yelle's aid. Give Schenn the win on the takedown, but Montador held his own against a big opponent!

12:46 - Wideman with a blocked shot, and he holds on. He made it to the bench and looks fine.

15:12 - Save Fernandez on Stajan.

15:45 - Ooooh. Savard just shot one into the Toronto bench and that woke up ALL of the Maple Leafs.

16:51 - Two saves for Joseph.

17:23 - More pressure by Boston...

19:02 - Savard goes to the net and ends up on top of  Joseph.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
0:00 - End of the Second.

2:56 - But doesn't stop Wheels. Wheeler takes a Axelsson pass and converts. It's 7-4, B's.

3:10 - Joseph stops Axelsson.

4:29 - Oreskovic and Lucic have a go. I am going to give Luch the decision on points. A good fight, but the B's keep the momentum -- hopefully.

6:54 - Save by Joseph, who has to make a tough glove save just seconds off the bench.

7:16 - Krejci, with a great individual effort, scores and chases Pogge. Cujo (Curtis Joseph) is in net for the Leafs.

8:30 - All of Shawn Thornton's family must be in the Air Canada Centre, cause the place exploded when the B's tough guy scored. It's 5-4, Boston.

10:10 - Lucic croaks Grabovski.

10:59 - Savard shoots, Recchi tips it in. It's 4-4. Thank goodness.

11:08 - Hamilton in the box for tripping.

11:40 - Pogge stopped Montador.

13:54 - With Fernandez down, Ponikarovski beats Manny high and puts his Leafs up 4-3.

15:08 - Another save for Manny! Hamilton was right in the slot and Fernandez kicked it away.

16:01 - Nice PK for the B's.

16:54 - Glove save Fernandez.

18:02 - Hunwick is called for interference (or being strong, who knows).

19:02 - The clubs have already gone up and down the ice what seems like six times.

20:00 - Start of the Second. Fernandez remains in goal.
0:00 - End of the First.

26.8 - Shot Hunwick, tip Recchi -- Boston scores. It's 3-3. Recchi is like a fire hydrant in front of the goal. That's his 18th of the season.

40.4 - Wheeler is tripped by Finger. B's on the PP to end this period and, maybe, to start the next.

1:30 - Toronto smells blood.

3:00 - Grabovski passes to Ponikarovsky who beats Fernandez. It's 3-2, Toronto.

4:00 - Boston dumps deep, trying to get something going...

7:56 - Mitchell ties the game. He stuff the puck past a prone Fernandez as the goalie tried to handle a rebound. It's 2-2.

8:21 - Two straight clears by Wideman...

9:36 - Fernandez makes a save on a Toronto Blake breakaway, but Yell is in the box for hooking.

10:00 - This time it's Yelle who tests Pogge. But Pogge is up to the task.

11:10 - Ryder with a beautiful goal. He beat Pogge with a backhander SHORT SIDE. Gorgeous. It's 2-1, Boston.

12:49 - Fernandez with a stop on a Finger slapper.

13:04 - Fernandez gathers a puck shot wide of his net. He held on for the draw.

14:20 - Lucic with a dump. He wins a battle and gets the puck moving in front. Kobasew gathered the puck and beat Pogge. It's 1-1. Nice goal by Kobasew -- and very timely.

15:12 - Icing Boston.

15:59 - Tough goal for the Bruins and Fernandez. A defensive error led to a near breakaway by Kulemin, who chipped a floater over the poke check of Manny. It's 1-0, Leafs.

17:00 - The Bruins energy line create some havoc in the TO zone.

18:03 - Ryder and Lucic force Pogge to hold on for a faceoff. Lots of back-and-forth action.

19:46 - Chara shoots, Pogge stops it.

20:00 - Start of the First. Here we go Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuins!

The B's have scratched Bitz, Hnidy and Kessel. So, we'll see about the lines. Maybe Montador on defense with Hunwick skating as a forward? Or vice versa?

Let's switch to time on the clock.

6:44 p.m.
A decent guess on the lines...
Thornton-Yelle-Bitz Montador.

Kessel, Hnidy and Montador

6:41 p.m.
Contrary to previous reports, NESN is reporting that Manny Fernandez will start in goal. Pogge in goal for Toronto.

6:36 p.m.
Tears on Huntington Ave...
The Northeastern Huskies have ended their season. Cornell scored three straight goals, including one very late in the third period, to put the Huntington Hounds down, 3-2.

The loss ends one of the best seasons in Northeastern history.

My sincere condolences to everyone at Matthews and to my friends over at Conor Larkins.

6:28 p.m.

Yesterday, after practice, the media gathered to listen to the B's bench boss talk about his club's "vacation." Click on the link to the right to see the whole presser.

"I think it's been a good week," said Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien. "I like the way we practiced.

"We seemed to have our jump and we seemed to be executing well.

"So, the only thing left to do now is to carry that into [the Toronto] game," he said.

Julien was not corcerned about rust going into the tilt with Toronto.

"I don't think so," said Julien. "I think we did enough things this week in practice that were scrimmage related."

In fact, the mental break may be much more of a help than a hinderance.

"I think there is no doubt that the mental break will be a positive," said Julien. "Right now, it's [time] for us to show that the layoff is not going to effect us."

6:03 p.m.
It's almost game time...
Here is a little update on the Leafs, courtesy TSN: The team held an optional skate on the heels of Friday's loss in Buffalo. Justin Pogge will get the start for Toronto. Defenceman Jay Harrison will also play, having joined the team after spending the year in the Swiss elite league. The team has assigned Ben Ondrus and Anton Stralman to the Marlies of the AHL. Forward Nik Hagman returns after missing a month due to concussion.

5:59 p.m.
Man oh man. I am flipping between the Northeastern vs. Cornell game and the BU vs. OSU hockey games. That, my friends, is a lot a red and white uniforms. NU leads 2-1 and BU/OSU has just started.

5:13 p.m.
James vanRiemsdyk University of New Hampshire Wildcats NCAA
The UNH Wildcats have advanced.

After tying the game with .01 seconds left in regulation, UNH scored in the overtime to put at least two Hockey East teams in the final eight of the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. They dropped North Dakota 6-5, just 45-seconds into the first overtime. Intern Angela Latona, whose alter ego is that of a college student, is at the NCAA regional in New Hampshire, says that the atmosphere in Manchester is "ridiculous."

Meanwhile, the Northeastern Huskies, who play out of Matthews (nee The Boston) Arena, have just gone up 2-0 on the Cornell Big Red.

2:16 p.m.
Thomas at UVM
Speaking of not needing to be reminded of the importance of any games, our friends, dorm mates and neighbors from Hockey East and the Beanpot are busy this weekend.

The day in Hockey East (and the Hub of Hockey) looks like this:
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota at 2:00 p.m.
Cornell vs. Northeastern at 4:00 p.m.
Ohio State vs. Boston University at 6:30 p.m.
Air Force vs. Vermont at 6:30 p.m.
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m.

Tim Thomas' Vermont Catamounts beat Yale 4-1 on Friday night and will advance to the Frozen Four with a win over Air Force, who themselves upset Michigan -- sorry to Aaron Ward and Matt Hunwick.

All of this takes a little bit of the sting out of not being scheduled to travel to Ontario, because it means I can be in four places at once and cheer on New England's finest hockey teams.

1:53 p.m.
Ward at Michigan
All week, the Boston Bruins preached that they were not going to take the Toronto Maple Leafs lightly, particularly since Canada's team had been on a bit of a roll lately -- not to mention that the contest is on Hockey Night in Canada in front of God, Don Cherry and everyone.

"I wouldn't take [tonight's game] from any perspective beyond the fact that they are playing very well right now," said veteran defenseman Aaron Ward on Friday. "They've beaten upper echelon teams like Washington and are playing with a lot of character right now.

"So it's a game where we have to prepare ourselves as well as we did against New Jersey -- if not better."

I asked Aaron if he felt that the veterans on the Bruins had to give the younger players on the Bruins any sort of reminders about taking the Leafs for granted.

"No, I don't think at this stage, reminders are necessary."

Judging by the mood in the room this week, I tend to agree.

12:09 p.m.
The Toronto contingent reports that Tim Thomas is the first goalie off.

12:01 a.m.

The Bruins are in the midst of their optional morning skate. Most of the Bruins are participating and both goalies are on the ice.
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