The Toronto Maple Leafs rolled into town undefeated with the hottest forward in the NHL playing on their right wing. They pierced Thomas quickly. Then Colton Orr made himself the first to dance with Shawn Thornton on the new year. That was the last time you could say Brian Burkes squad was in holding their own.
After Steckel’s goal, the Bruins would go on a run to score six unanswered goals. This included two powerplay goals. The score sheet was more cluttered than Wayne Gretzky’s trophy case. Hits, shots, faceoff wins came in bunches. Andrew Ference had three assists, blocked four shots and made two solid hits. Patrice Bergeron took nine shots on goal and scored his first of the year. Milan Lucic ran people over and collected a goal and two assists.
Tyler Seguin set up Zdeno Chara’s first of the season, then set up Milan Lucic’s first of the season as well. The second year forward had to wait nearly ten minutes after his helper on Lucic’s before being set up for his second of the year. Steve Kampfer returned to play twelve and a half busy minutes in which he went plus two, dished out hits, blocked shots and brought a steady, speedy NHL ready presence to the blueline. Tim Thomas was Tim Thomas on a light work night with just twenty eight shots coming at him.
The most important thing about this game was what didn’t happen; they didn’t drop off after going down early. Nearly as important is they played to win until the end. Six goals, even if against a backup is not something that happens by accident. None of the goals were bobbles, they all beat Gustovsson clean. No one was sitting on the goalie when the puck went in, no reviews, all the goals were hustle and sweet feeds. Saturday will be a big test, when the Sharks come to town. Summer pickup Martin Havlat should be joining the team on the ice and should slide onto a powerplay that already has Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.