Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs can figure out how good they are once again vs. Bruins

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The Maple Leafs might be in first place in the Northeast Division today, but with a game against Boston tonight (and another on Saturday) if the Leafs are going to show they’re for real, sending that message to the defending Cup champions would be a good start.

In the Leafs previous two games with Boston this season they’ve been humiliated. Getting beaten 6-2 and 7-0 while seeing Tyler Seguin blow up for a combined four goals and two assists in those games does nothing to calm the collective psyche of the fan base. Seeing Phil Kessel get swarmed over and kept quiet doesn’t help either.

For the Leafs, they’ll have to find a way to beat Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask and hope that at least tonight they can get another solid performance from Jonas Gustavsson. The Monster has done well of late, but he looked brutal in both previous losses this year. With James Reimer getting closer to returning to action that will help, but for now it’s all on Gustavsson.

Having the Bruins play the part of the schoolyard bully to them has to get old for the players and sacking up and getting after them in these next two games would help us buy into the Leafs being a serious playoff contender. Talking big is one thing, but showing you’re worthy of the praise is something else entirely.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)