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[Open Thread] Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins

God, I hate playing the Bruins. The Leafs depend on the cycle, rebounds, and crashing the net to score goals. The Bruins like to defend with 5 guys within arm's length of the net. When the two styles collide the Leafs struggle.

On the bright side, if the Leafs' score more than 1 goal they win. Last year they lost 3-0, 3-1, 4-1, 3-1, 2-1 and won 10-2, 5-1, and 6-4. That 6-4 game was also the game in which Andrew Raycroft's promising start to his Leafs career was derailed with a re-occurrence of his groin injury.

There was a rumour that Tuukka Rask was going to start but it will be Tim Thomas' .950Sv% and 1.65GAA that will be put in the line of fire against one of the league's top offences. There is no way that this matchup can end up in tears for the Leafs. None whatsoever.

The special teams' battle looks to be a lively one as the Leafs' PP and PK are ranked 29th and 19th while the Bruins' are 21st and 25th respectively. Nothing that happens tonight will be a harbinger of future improvement unless the Leafs' PP wakes up and then look out NHL. If the Leafs can score in two of three hockey situations then they will be unstoppable. Or at least only slightly less stoppable. The PK has been slowly improving so maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing to keep an eye out for will be the Leafs' forwards. Somehow against a physically weak team Bates Battaglia got the call ahead of Chad Kilger. That problem will hopefully be fixed. Someone will also have to step in for Jiri Tlusty since he was sent to the minors on the advice of Damien Cox. Wait, he wasn't? You mean no one listens to that gasbag? Ok. In that case I'll pick Tlusty to score the winner and then channel his inner Randy Moss.

Kyle Wellwood's two goal performance was enough to pick up the player of the game nod. Remember to put your guesses for who will score take the first shot, get the first penalty, and score the first goal in the comments. I'll keep a running tally of the results in the right sidebar. For the Rangers' game the winning predictions were: Shot - Tlusty, Penalty - McCabe, and Goal - Wellwood. Evening News Team is off the schneid as they correctly predicted that McCabe would be the first dumb defenceman to take a penalty. Wozniewski and McCabe are turning into pretty solid picks. This is also getting tracked in the sidebar.

As always, your thoughts throughout the game are much appreciated in the comments. Each period and overtime/shootout gets their own section so just reply to the relevant section's main post. You need to set up an account to comment so register and share your thoughts.