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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Going into a losing streak of 5 games just when the playoff picture is starting to heat up, the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs look to find something to build off of in their 30th game of the season tonight when they visit the improving Boston Bruins. (7:00PM ET).

Toronto has struggled mightily in their last 10 games, going 2-8 in that span. The Bruins are responsible for 3 of those 8 losses, including back-to-back wins in Toronto on November 25th and 28th.

Toronto is most recently trying to find their bearings after a 5-2 loss to the red hot Atlanta Thrashers. The Leafs were leading 2-0 before Atlanta scored 5 unanswered goals in the 3rd period, as booes rained at he Air Canada Center after Toronto continued the trend of poor 3rd period performances by blowing a two goal lead for consecutive games.

Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/4863-trash-burn-leafs-blow-another-lead.html

Darcy Tucker and Mike Peca scored the only goals for Toronto, with Tucker's goal being a team leading 17th, a league leading 12th on the Powerplay, and team leading 26th Point on the season.

Despite what the score on the statsboard may show, Leaf Goaltender Andrew Raycroft had a mostly strong game for Toronto who played carelessly in their own end of the ice most for much of the game and were outshot 29-10 before the team finally collapsed completely in the 3rd period.

Hal Gill said:
"He made some huge saves for us. We let him down in the third."
Head Coach Paul Maurice also came to the Goaltender's defense:

Paul Maurice said:
''He has been very good to exceptional this year and I think we've been average in front of him''
Raycroft is 11-9-3 through 23 Games, and has a 2.83 Goals Against Average and .900 Save Percentage

Toronto's lack of killer instinct has been a concern for the last while, as the team is continuing to blow leads and have seemingly lost the gritty shot-happy style they once had before, and the confidence level of the team is suddenly in question:

Michael Peca said:
"We're lacking quite a bit of a killer instinct. It seems we give up one goal and we're just waiting for the roof to blow off. I don't know if they had more energy or what (in the third period). The bottom line is that it's a disgrace on our side."
Whether recently returning defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo will be inserted into the line-up for the game tonight is still unknown, but it is expected to be a game day decision. Forward Nik Antropov, who has been playing some of his best Hockey in a Leaf uniform in quite a while, is out with an ankle injury after catching his foot in a rut in the ice during practice on Wednesday. The extent of the injury is not well known to this point.

Toronto is 13-11-5 through 29 games, for 4th in the Northeast Division and 8th in the Eastern Conference. The team is ranked 22nd in the league in goals against, which the Leafs will have to work on cutting down on in order to be successful tonight.

The Boston Bruins on the other hand have been having a solid run as of late, going 9-3 in their last 10 games.

Bruins' Goaltender Tim Thomas has been at his best for Boston lately, going 7-2 in his last 9 starts after struggling earlier in the season. The Bruins now find themselves just 3 Points out of the last Playoff spot in the East which is currently held by the visiting Maple Leafs. However, Boston holds 4 games in hand of Toronto, which could easily have the two clubs switching places in the standing should the Leafs continue to struggle for too long.

Thomas has an improving 3.10 Goals Against Average and a .904 save Percentage through 21 games this year.

Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/boston-bruins/4503-thomas-holding-things-down-bruins.html

The Bruins almost let one get away when they blew a 3-goal lead to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, but a late goal by Brad Stuart helped them barely escape the game with a 6-5 victory.

Off-season acquisition Marc Savard, who had 3 assists in that game, leads the team with 31 Points through 25 games, including 25 assists on the season. Veteran Winger Glen Murray continues to possess the goal-scoring ability that the Bruins signed him for last off-season, netting 14 goals on the season, also in 25 games played.

Though the games between the two rivals are usually close, the amount of games being played between the two teams and the amount of time they have played them in is one of the reasons the NHL has been considering changing the scheduling for next season to create more variety. Thursday Night's game will be the 5th meeting between the two teams in less than a month, with November the 9th being the 1st game involving the two.

Boston is 13-10-2 after 25 games for 5th in the Northeast Divison, and 9th in the Eastern Conference.

J.S. Aubin is probably to start for the Leafs, as the Leafs may decide to give Andrew Raycroft (who has started 8 games in a a row) a rest tonight.
 

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Okay, got this lineup info from tmlfans.ca:

MAPLE LEAFS:

Projected forward lines (players listed left wing, centre, right wing)
1st: Darcy Tucker, Mats Sundin, Jeff O'Neill
2nd: Alex Steen, Mike Peca, Matt Stajan
3rd: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Kyle Wellwood, Bates Battaglia
4th: Chad Kilger, John Pohl, Wade Belak
Defence pairings
Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe
Hal Gill, Ian White
Pavel Kubina, Brendan Bell
Starting goalie: Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Notes and injuies: RW Nik Antropov (sprained ankle; indefinite), RW Aleksander Suglobov (back strain; a few more days), D Andy Wozniewski (separated shoulder; indefinite). ... The Leafs are looking to break out offensively after scoring just seven goals in their last five games, all losses. ... Are 1-3 against the Bruins this season but the last three meetings have been Toronto losses in which the Leafs have only managed three goals. ... Leafs have a great deal of difficulty against the Bruins' passive defence. ... They did get 46 shots - though many were from long range - in losing 4-1 to Boston on Nov. 28 at the Air Canada Centre. ... Leafs tend to be better on the road where they have a 7-4-3 record.

BRUINS:

Projected forward lines (players listed left wing, centre, right wing)
1st: Petr Tenkrat, Marc Savard, Glen Murray
2nd: Marco Sturm, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes
3rd: Wayne Primeau, Mark Mowers, Shean Donovan
4th: Jeff Hoggan, Phil Kessel, Stanislav Chistov
Defence pairings
Zdeno Chara, Paul Mara
Brad Stuart, Andrew Alberts
Jason York, Milan Jurcina
Starting goalie: Tim Thomas

LET'S WIN THIS ONE TONIGHT, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Leafer4Life said:
Okay, got this lineup info from tmlfans.ca:

MAPLE LEAFS:

Projected forward lines (players listed left wing, centre, right wing)
1st: Darcy Tucker, Mats Sundin, Jeff O'Neill
2nd: Alex Steen, Mike Peca, Matt Stajan
3rd: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Kyle Wellwood, Bates Battaglia
4th: Chad Kilger, John Pohl, Wade Belak
Defence pairings
Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe
Hal Gill, Ian White
Pavel Kubina, Brendan Bell
Starting goalie: Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Notes and injuies: RW Nik Antropov (sprained ankle; indefinite), RW Aleksander Suglobov (back strain; a few more days), D Andy Wozniewski (separated shoulder; indefinite). ... The Leafs are looking to break out offensively after scoring just seven goals in their last five games, all losses. ... Are 1-3 against the Bruins this season but the last three meetings have been Toronto losses in which the Leafs have only managed three goals. ... Leafs have a great deal of difficulty against the Bruins' passive defence. ... They did get 46 shots - though many were from long range - in losing 4-1 to Boston on Nov. 28 at the Air Canada Centre. ... Leafs tend to be better on the road where they have a 7-4-3 record.

BRUINS:

Projected forward lines (players listed left wing, centre, right wing)
1st: Petr Tenkrat, Marc Savard, Glen Murray
2nd: Marco Sturm, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes
3rd: Wayne Primeau, Mark Mowers, Shean Donovan
4th: Jeff Hoggan, Phil Kessel, Stanislav Chistov
Defence pairings
Zdeno Chara, Paul Mara
Brad Stuart, Andrew Alberts
Jason York, Milan Jurcina
Starting goalie: Tim Thomas

LET'S WIN THIS ONE TONIGHT, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!

Those are very odd. I don't know what's happened to giving ice time to the deserving like Maurice used to do.

How Steen is on the 2nd line and Ponikarovsky and Wellwood end up on the 3rd is beyond me. I have no idea why he continues to avoid using the Tucker-Sundin-Wellwood line that was originally giving this team success.

I guess O'Neill has played okay, and I am looking forward to seeing how he performs on the top line.


Tenkrat on the top line in Boston? I was hoping for the Leafs to give him a shot. I guess he's playing decently in Boston.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk... 3-1 loss.

I hope Raycroft won't be shelving some of the blame for this one. :rolleyes:

Kubina handled the puck terribly on the 3rd goal. Aubin did all he could, but the defence ib front of him just isn't getting the job done.

And I don't mean "team defence" like the media wants to keep on portraying things. I mean the actual defencemen.

- McCabe continues to run around his zone and lacks the awareness of a solid defenceman.

- Bell is very naive on the ice, thinking he can just pass the puck around like he's playing road Hockey. He needs to realise that decision making needs to be made.

- Ian White. I find it kind of sad that he has a spot already secured for him on the main Leaf roster, only because of injuries and his right-handed shot. When he's on his game, he's very good, but he's been nothing short of LAZY in the defencive zone. He's been even more noticeable than McCabe. When he goes into his defencive zone to retrieve a puck, he goes in so slowly, and almost always gets caught.

- Pavel Kubina. I hate to say it, as he's a player that I think could help this team. I'm sure he does too. Unfortunately he's been way too fancy out there. He's lost the simplicity that made him look so good in Tampa Bay and at the beginning of the year. He's doing way too much with the puck.


What you say? No Hal Gill? No. He's actually played okay. He's done a few stupic things here and there, but for the most part Ian White has been weighing him down more than anything. I know that if Ian White goes, Hal Gill goes, because that's the way it was before the team lost it's edge. IMO, he was quite solid back there before then.

There where no complaints because there was nothing to complain about. Make sense? Yes? No?

In short: The defencemen on this team need to realise that there are fans in the stands behind them. There every move can be seen on TV, including their lazyness and all short-comings. They need to start playing like they know it, because obviously they're somehow gone numb from the idea.

Maybe McCabe won't change, but the other 3 can and have played better than they're playing right now, especially White and Kubina. It's time they start putting it into high gear, because right now, they don't even have a playoff spot.

Yes, the offence could do beter here and there, but let's finally start giving blame where blame is due. There's no point in not doing it now, 'cause they don't even have a playoff spot right now.
 
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