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.