–Remember November? The way this game went, it would’ve fit in perfectly with the B’s epic run back in November. The B’s were firing on all cylinders tonight (though it’s honestly hard to decide if the B’s were flying or the Leafs were just that bad). Passes were crisp, all four lines were rolling, the pressure was high consistently, and everyone was contributing. Also, I said last week that the B’s simply weren’t getting the bounces during the losing skid. Tonight, they got all of the bounces, and they cashed in on them.
–Old Man Rolston This is a bold statement on my part, but: this was Brian Rolston’s best game since coming back to the Bruins. Shocking, I know. I’m really going out on a limb there. But Rolston looked great tonight, earning the game’s first star after scoring a goal and chipping in with three assists and a plus-4 rating. Rolston has impressed me as his tenure with the B’s has gone on; I thought he’d be slow and out of gas, but he hasn’t missed a step.
–Third was first The third line of Chris Kelly, Rolston, and Benoit Pouliot was probably the best line on the ice tonight, with the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line being the only one that was close. The trio combined for nine points (4G, 5A) and a plus-10, and was dangerous every time it was on the ice. With the way the first line has been struggling as of late, it’s even more important for the B’s to get “secondary” scoring from somewhere. If the third line can keep producing like they did tonight, it’ll go a long way towards making the recent struggles a thing of the past.
–Thanks for Thornton During a break in the action tonight, the B’s put up a headline on the Jumbotron acknowledging Shawn Thornton’s contract extension. The crowd roared its approval, and Thornton looked up with a sort of “ah, thanks, but get the hell out of here” wave. I’m glad Thornton is back in the fold for two more years. The B’s aren’t a soft team without Thornton, but they do benefit from his tough presence and his positive impact in the locker room.
–Leafs fans I like Leafs fans. The Pension Plan Puppets guys are some of the funniest hockey fans on Twitter, and Leafs fans have pretty much become the Red Sox fans of the NHL: laughing at themselves to keep from crying. The Leafs fans at the Garden tonight were hilarious tonight. There was a row of fans behind one of the goals wearing paper bags on their heads, and they were taking pictures with B’s fans all night. In fact, at the start of the third, as the Leafs came out for the start of the third, down 7-0, a Leafs fan a few rows in front of my stood up, beer in hand, and clapped with his fingertips. He was half-heartedly yelling “yaaaaaaaay…yaaaaaaaaay” too. What a beauty.
–Poor Leafs Man, the Leafs sure did fall apart. I was apparently dumb enough to think the Leafs would make the playoffs this year, and for a while, it looked like I would be right. But the Leafs have completely fallen apart, and it was apparent from the opening faceoff tonight that the Leafs wouldn’t be putting up much of a fight. I’ve seen a lot of lopsided games over the years, especially during the Dave Lewis Era, but this was one of the weakest efforts I’ve ever seen from a hockey team. The Leafs looked like they entered the game believing that there was no chance that they could beat the B’s. Sure, they 0 for 5 in prior 2011-2012 attempts, but their last game was pretty good, making tonight’s effort inexcusable. It was just…bad.
–Silly Mike Mike Komisarek was a thorn in the B’s side for years when he was with Montreal. In fact, his feud with Milan Lucic was legendary, and was one of the most bitter one-on-one battles of the past couple of years. But ol’ Mike got his face knocked in when he finally fought Lucic a few years back. So why would he knock on that door again tonight? I’ve seen people speculate that Komisarek may not have known it was Lucic he was jostling with, or that he didn’t think Lucic would actually go with him. But go he did, and his fist went into Komisarek’s face approximately 3,020 times. Some would say it takes balls to do what Komisarek did, but I think there’s a thin line between stupidity and bravery, and Komisarek crossed it.
What went right
Well let’s see, how about…everything. Pretty much literally. Passes were crisp, shots were on goal, tips ended up in the net. The bounces were there, and so were the results. This game was pretty much just one big group hug for B’s fans.
Attaboy: Everyone was great tonight, but the third line gets the nod. The trio was spectacular, and really was the driving force behind all of the good things the B’s did tonight.
Providence Shuttle: Leafs management, which is ironic because Brian Burke went to Providence College. I’m not sure how much rope Burke has left in Toronto. His teams haven’t really improved much at all in three years. He may have some help on the way in the form of a top-five pick in this year’s draft, but I think if this team isn’t markedly better a year from now, Burke will be out of TO.