Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wishing that Tim Thomas was still with the Bruins so I could ask him about a protective wall along the US/Canada border.
*Reilly Smith is excited to join the Florida Panthers, and says that nobody wanted to play them at the end of the last season. It’s pretty clear the Bruins didn’t want to play them anyway.
*Former Toronto Maple Leafs CEO Richard Peddie says that the neighbors that lived around Tyler Seguin in Toronto aren’t too happy this summer. That should come as a big shock to the people that used to live around him in Charlestown.
*PHT writer Ryan Dadoun has Milan Lucic joking about running through Tuukka Rask “like I did to another goalie” during a candid interview with Vancouver radio. I guess he still thinks knocking over Ryan Miller was pretty funny.
*Jim Matheson says the road to the NHL is often bumpy for any number of young hockey players coming up through the ranks.
*Marcel Goc has signed a five-year deal to presumably end his pro hockey career playing in Germany.
*Here are five reasons to get excited for the Calgary Flames in September and I’m willing to bet that Dougie Hamilton is one of them.
*For something completely different: the whole saga with El Presidente video-bombing ESPN talent at the Brady hearing was bordering on epic.
TORONTO – It certainly didn’t look good for the Bruins in a pivotal Game 4 when it was announced during warm-ups that Patrice Bergeron would miss the game with an upper body injury.
But the Bruins managed to grind through some of the more difficult points of the game while keeping it a low-scoring affair, and then gashed the Leafs defense in the final 25 minutes of the game for a 3-1 win at Air Canada Centre.
The Bruins scored on the very first shift of the game with Torey Krug launching a long bomb shot from beyond the right face-off circle that managed to sneak by Frederik Andersen. That was the first in another long line of soft goals that have been surrendered by the Leafs netminder during the playoff series. Toronto took control for the rest of the first period while out-shooting the Bruins by a 12-7 margin and tied things up about seven minutes later on another effective shift from the newly configured Leafs second line.
Mitch Marner stripped a puck from Riley Nash by the side boards, and threw a cross-ice feed from his knees to Tomas Plekanec for the one-timer from the inside of the right circle. The score stayed that way for a long time thanks to some outstanding goaltending from Tuukka Rask, who stopped Leafs breakaway chances in both the first and second period while stopping 21 of the 22 shots that he faced.
It didn’t look particularly good for the Bruins when an icing was called toward the end of the second period at the end of a long shift for Boston’s top line, but they somehow turned it into offense. Nash won the D-zone draw to Adam McQuaid, who threw the puck up the boards to David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand breaking out for a 2-on-1 chance.
Pastrnak threw a slick, no-look pass to Marchand after drawing the defense to him, and Marchand buried his second goal of the playoffs for the go-ahead strike. The Bruins were at it again in the third period with David Krejci feeding Jake DeBrusk in another 2-on-1 for his second goal of the postseason as well.
At that point, the Bruins had their insurance goal and hunkered down to take the win and head back to Boston up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series with the hopes that Bergeron will return healthy for Game 5 on Saturday night.
TORONTO – The Bruins will need to take a pivotal Game 4 without their best player as Patrice Bergeron is out for Thursday night’s playoff game at the Air Canada Centre with an upper body injury. Bergeron will be day-to-day moving forward, but that’s not going to help the B’s as they lose one piece of a forward line that’s dominated the Maple Leafs through the first three games of the series.
It’s really not a great sign when the Bruins had two days off in Toronto between Game 3 and Game 4, and Bergeron still wasn’t able to give it a go on Thursday night. Instead it will be Riley Nash centering the top line between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and Tommy Wingels entering back into the lineup with No. 37 out of the lineup. There was a faint sign that something might be up with Bergeron when Riley Nash took some turns in his place at practice on Wednesday afternoon at Air Canada Centre, but no signal whatsoever that something was serious enough to keep him out of the lineup.
It goes without saying that the Bruins might be in big trouble if this Bergeron injury proves to be something that could cause him to miss multiple games in a best-of-seven series where the B’s currently hold a 2-1 lead. Bergeron had five assists and was a plus-4 rating in the first three games of the series with his line amassing 20 points in the first two games of the series.
Here are the Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 based on pregame warm-ups at the Air Canada Centre: