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Wishing I were at Eggspectation…

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

As you know, the Black & Gold called up Hannu Toivonen to face the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge tonight in Montreal.

Hannu’s one game versus Montreal came on December 12th, when Sergei Samsonov and crew dropped four goals (Sammy had two) on the young goalie. That game, though a 4-3 loss, garnered the Finn a lot of praise in the Bell Centre press box.

Said legendary Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette of the December game:
”Bruins goalie Hannu Toivonen made a barrage of difficult stops among the 40 he faced."

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa wrote:
"Toivonen looked like a big-time puckstopper last night, making head-spinning saves on several of the Montreal Canadiens’ 40 shots."

Boston Herald scribe Steve Conroy mused:
"(Toivonen) stopped 36-of-40 shots and, though the B’s did a decent job of eliminating second chances, he had to make a lot of high-quality saves."

Toivonen, never one to back away from blame, and who, in truth, takes a little too much blame upon himself when the team loses, said, "It was quite a bit of shots…But the guys played pretty good in front of me…I was able to see pretty much all of them…[The last goal] it surprised me. But that’s not an excuse. It’s a goal that should never go in. And that situation -- it’s pretty much the hockey game. And that’s a bad goal to let in."

My own take on the game was this:
"It’s good that Toivonen is being a good teammate, and took the blame upon himself for the loss, but there is no way that Toivo lost that game for the B’s. No way."

Unfortunately, we only have the one game to go on, in terms of Toivonen’s career versus the Habs, but with Samsonov in the Chateau Bow Wow, I do not think Toivo will have to worry about the Magical Muscovite.

Shinzawa caught up with Bruins head coach Dave Lewis, yesterday, to ask about Toivonen’s promotion.

He writes in this morning’s Globe:

According to coach Dave Lewis, Toivonen will start tonight against the Canadiens and Thursday against the Sabres. Toivonen will then return to Providence, clearing way for Tim Thomas to start the season finale at home against the Senators Saturday…"He’s played solid," said Lewis. "Peter wants him to get into a game or two here. Just reward him and get him another opportunity."

On Sunday, Toivonen turned aside 24 shots to backstop Providence to a 2-1 win over the Lowell Devils. Toivonen has played in 23 AHL games, posting an 11-12 record with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. In 16 NHL games this season, he is 3-7-1 with a 4.42 GAA and .870 save percentage.

Since Providence has most of this week off, the timing is just right. Allow Hannu to play a couple of important games against high caliber teams, and allow Thomas to finish out the season at home on Saturday for Fan Appreciation Night. Reasonable.

Now I am missing Chez Cora…
Montreal should be hopping tonight, as the Habs are in dire straights in terms of playoff positioning -- the city may, however be looking past the Bruins.

Jack Todd of the Gazette wrote on Sunday:

"With Carolina and the Islanders falling out of it, this is becoming a two-team race between the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens for the last playoff spot in the east, setting up a game next Saturday at the Air Canada Centre that could have the feel of one of those classic, one-game playoffs between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox."

One fan wrote into the Gazette’s

"I think Boston is gonna roll over. There isn’t the same Boston-Montreal rivalry as the days of old. They’ve lost Murray to injury and their goaltending has been up and down. They’re out and I think the Habs will win this one convincingly.

I am more concerned about Thursday & Saturday. Winning against Boston should release some pressure for the last 2 games."

Hmmmm. I say. Too bad I can’t post the above in the locker room, myself.

In any case, should the B’s beat the Habs tonight, much of the starch of that "one-game playoff" might go by the wayside, especially if the Rangers take care of business in New York City on Thursday.

No matter the result, I am sure that tonight will give us all a lot to talk about tomorrow morning.

I think I will make poutine for dinner…anyone got some St. Hubert’s sauce?
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