If the Boston Bruins were looking to forget that 7-4 loss earlier in the week, their trip to Toronto to meet the Toronto Maple Leafs provided just that. Last season, the Leafs were often a bright spot in the schedule–the Bruins won all six games, often by huge margins–so the team was surely hoping for some more good times on Feb. 2.
They got just that in a 1-0 win that also served as a celebration of 60 years of Hockey Night in Canada. Back in November 1952, a game between these two teams was the very first hockey game televised on the then-nascent weekly show. The salute to 60 years of a show that pretty much every Canadian grew up with–and many Americans, too, especially those living near the border–was a nice touch in a game featuring quite a few nice touches.
Tuukka Rask, torched for six of the seven goals against the Buffalo Sabres to the point where he made one of those jokes-but-not-really-jokes about his neck burning from the goal light being on so much, stopped 21 shots to earn the shutout win and a confidence boost.
Chris Bourque potted the only necessary goal, literally crashing the net for his first goal as a Bruin and only his second in his time with any NHL team to date. The Hockey Night in Canada announcers joked that he only needs to score 408 to catch up with his dad. No pressure, Chris!
Speaking of Bruins with hockey alumni dads, Lane MacDermid fought Matt Fraser in two separate occasions. He was taken down the first time, but then defeated Fraser on the second go-round.
Before the game began, Jamie Tardif was allowed to jump on the ice first, which was a very nice gesture for a man finally getting his first taste of NHL ice after more than 400 games in the minors. This was also a visit to the hometown for guys like Dougie Hamilton, whose family was in attendance, and Tyler Seguin. Having Rask in net is also a reminder of the fact that he was drafted by Toronto and traded off when the Maple Leafs decided on Justin Pogge as their goalie of the future.
Now, two-thirds of the payout from the Phil Kessel trade are in the Bruins lineup, too. Someday, when Jared Knight joins the team, all three players acquired for Kessel could very well be together against him. What a day that will be!
The one concern coming out of this game is about Brad Marchand, who fell awkwardly into the boards and tried to play a few more shifts, but then left the game early out of an abundance of caution. The versatile Gregory Campbell took his place and did what he could. The good news, though, is that Boston doesn’t play again until Feb. 6, which could give Marchand time to recover and be ready to go against the Montreal Canadiens.
Here’s some more good news: with this win, the Bruins retain first place in the Northeast Division and are in first in the entire Eastern Conference. All in all, this was the kind of game that Boston needed to rebound from their bad loss.