SERIES 2-1 BOSTON
"There's only one true superstar of the decade, true superstar of the milenium! You know who that is? The Rask will tell you how that is! Toronto, that is the Leafs beating, puck eating, trail blazing, save raising, stronger than a bear, stronger than a buck, the biggest thing to hit Canada because THE MAPLE LEAFS SUCK!" - The Rask
Tuukkamania is running wild in Toronto right now. Rask was awesome against Toronto in Game 3, stopping 45 shots and grabbing the win. I guess it helps when you have turds like Dion Phaneuf playing for the Leafs. The guy is a useless tool - it's amazing. How a captain can be that bad on offense, defense and in transition is amazing to me. He can't do ANYTHING! He laid a huge hit on Paille in Game 2, then a huge hit on Peverley in Game 3 and then got burnt by Danny Paille for a goal.
(stick tap to Swervin81 at HFBoards)
Seriously though, look at this. Look at what Tuukka Rask is doing in net for this team right now:
Jesus Christ. If that was James Reimer, Boston would have scored about 3 goals on that play alone. And speaking of Reimer, he's a rebound machine. He has to have his pads greased with Crisco or something because some of those rebounds have been unbelievable. It makes you question how Toronto is actually a playoff team this season.
The numbers themselves tell you that Reimer has just been a huge bag of shit. If the Bruins actually tried in Game 2, we could be talking about an elimination game tonight. It begs the question though, does Toronto actually show up tonight? One would have to think that they would, especially with such a shitty showing at home (for the first time in 9 years and 2 days, in case you forgot).
But isn't that what we expect from the Maple Leafs. For a lot of them, this is their first time in the playoffs. I mean, Phil Kessel's last trip to Season Two was in 2008-2009. Other than Kessel and Phaneuf, who has some playoff experience on this team that's a major player? For BOZOak, Kadri, Grabovski and Reimer, this is their first time at the big dance.
Sometimes experience can be something that's overplayed, but I think in this series it's a big deal. There's a lot of pressure on the Leafs to perform based on the sweater they wear. The city demands perfection despite a long Cup-less streak and an alomst decade-long playoff streak. Plus, they're putting their eggs into the Phil Kessel basket.
I have nothing against Phil Kessel. I don't believe in the "Thank You Kessel" chants, mostly because they're older than dirt. I'm glad he whined his way out of Boston because the payoff was better than him staying. People like to point to the stats comparing Kessel and Seguin - but no one really takes into account the difference in systems.
Also take into account that Phil Kessel was a big reason why Paille's goal happened in Game 3. It's all about turnovers folks and Toronto is giving them away like they're glory holes in Montreal. I've seen group orgies cleaner than the Leafs in transition. It's a wonderful thing.
And if you ever want to know the supersticious reason as to why Phil Kessel will never win anything, well...
Also his girlfriend is way out of his league.
I'm sure Randy Carlyle will cry again after tonight's game. I'm glad Julien told him to effectively shut his trap, but watch the faceoffs tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins were tossed from the dot more than usual because Randy-Bo-Bandy had to open his mouth and complain about the Bruins cheating.
It's obvious that Boston is cheating on faceoffs. They only led the NHL in faceoffs during the regular season with 56% of the draws won while Toronto was 15th with 50%.
But hey - what so we know? We're homers who love Crosby and hate America.
After the jump, the rest of the preview...
Bruins Projected Lines
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Rich Peverley - Chris Kelly - Jaromir Jagr
Shawn Thornton - Greg Campbell - Dan Paille
Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Johnny Boychuk - Andrew Ference
Adam McQuaid - Wade Redden
DOY Flying Bear T-Shirt
Game Day Video/Image
Kessel prepping for tonight's game