The Toronto Maple Leafs, fresh off of a dispiriting 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers, welcomed home Tomas Kaberle and his new teammates. The fans gave a former Leafs hero a standing ovation after a nice tribute video and the Buds showed why he didn't want to leave as they blew the Bruins out of the water with a 5-2 win. On this night, the Leafs' future was on full display.
The scoring started out with a spectacular individual effort by Luke Schenn. Taking a pass at in his own end Schenn cut across the neutral zone before coming upon Adam McQuaid. He blew past him, shrugging him off as he went, before bringing the puck back into the middle of the ice onto his forehand and roofing it past a stunned Tim Thomas. After the Bruins' equalised via a lucky bounce for McQuaid, Nazem Kadri fired a point shot in off of the same defenceman. Quite the eventful first period.
The second period saw Joey Crabb score on a rebound from Kadri's hopeful shot at the net. A short time later Mike Brown outraced Kaberle and fired a wrist shot past Tim Thomas and seemingly end his night. It was pretty funny watching him sitting on the bench with his helmet still on but as it turned out he was still in need of it. Tuukka Rask is famously short-tempered and it was on full display as Keith Aulie picked up his second NHL goal on a screened shot.
After the low of the Florida game, it was a nice reminder of what the Leafs have in their stable. Kadri may be a long way off but two points and his most complete game of his career are harbingers of what may come. Luke Schen is already an established strong defender but that goal was the acme of a year in which he's showed increasing comfort with the puck. Keith Aulie's goal provides another good chuckle and a nice reminder that he was a throw in in the Dion Phaneuf deal. And, as always, James Reimer was spectacular. He stopped 37 of 39 shots including a number of last-ditch efforts and a lovely stop on Tyler Seguin's breakaway.
After the jump, the game in six and highlight videos.
Game In Six Highlights
Luke Schenn's End-To-End Goal
One thing I really liked was that this play began with Keith Aulie laying a stiff check on Nathan Horton. Milan Lucic, for reasons understandable only to someone else that reads large print books, decided that he wanted to intimidate the rookie. Recognizing that there was no need to raise callouses on his knuckles with Lucic's rough face Aulie wisely turned down the invitation to instruct him on why he's referred to as Muhammad Aulie.
Dion Phaneuf Fights Nathan Horton
I am not entirely sure what the history is between Nathan Horton and Dion Phaneuf but it appears to be intense to say the least. The fought in Boston on October 28th of this year and I am sure part of it has to do with Phaneuf sneaking in a punch from the canvas. Apparently Don Cherry had a lot to say about this fight. I didn't hear it but I can pretty much guess that it had to do with Phaneuf's failure to remove his helmet. I'm not sure why he didn't when he did in their first meeting. However, based on the outcome which saw Horton bloodied as his head hit the ice, it's probably a good thing that he kept it on. It was pretty funny to see Phaneuf's reaction to the fight. At first he didn't even seem to understand what bee had gotten into Horton's bonnet.