I don’t like the word statement game. Every game is important to the players and they try to go out and win every night. No one likes losing, especially highly competitive people like NHL players. You don’t get to the NHL without being competitive without yearning to be the best.
The Bruins achieved this mark last year by winning the ultimate sports trophy and beating the Cannots (Canucks) in seven games to be named Stanley Cup Champions.
However so far this year the Bruins have struggled to return to their Stanley Cup winning ways. They get another chance to right the ship tonight against Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs are 4-0-1 headed into tonight’s match-up and currently sit in first place atop the Northeast division. Former Bruin Kessel is the league’s top scorer right now with seven goals and 12 points in just five games. Joffrey Lupul also has been off to a solid start for the Leafs potting two goals last night against the Jets bringing him to four for the season and three assists.
For the Bruins, Adam McQuaid is out, Steve Kampfer is likely and Daivd Krejci will be a game time decision.
We will see if Julien’s line shuffle will spark some sort of inspired play out of the Bruins who have looked out of sorts so far this season, spending more time in the penalty box than scoring goals. Bruins need to play SMART physical hockey, avoid penalties but cause the other team to take them. This isn’t as hard as it appears.
The Bruins have the physical players needed. The problem is how they are displaying it. Do it during the game, without taking a penalty, it will annoy the living hell out of the opposition and in turn cause them to take some retaliatory penalties or frustrate them into bad turnovers and playing out of position. This is what the Bruins should be working towards because that is how they won the Cup last year. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense and disrupting your opponents offensive flow with physical play can do a number to spark to offense.
They can’t have another game with 72 penalty minutes. I think the Bruins will come out motivated by the home crowd and pissed off with the results so far this season. It shouldn’t take much to get Champions motivated to play, but the original six rivalry mixed with the return of Kessel to the TD Gardens, and the current state of things with the Bruins, look for them to flip the switch to “on” mode tonight and show the league that last year wasn’t a fluke or conspiracy against Vancouver.
Don’t forget Bruins fans, it could always be worse, you could be a Blue Jackets fan.
Rosters for tonight’s game will be posted later today.