Julien: ‘We just stunk the joint’


On Wednesday morning while trying to avoid questions about Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “I don’t think tonight’s a real emotional game”.

On Wednesday night, his team’s game lacked emotion.

The second period wasn’t four minutes old and Boston was in the hole 4-0, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask pulled, presumably to rest for the more emotional tilt Thursday against the Canadiens.

Toronto added two more extending its’ win streak to three games with a 6-1 win. The Leafs also improved to 5-1-1 since an embarrassing 4-1 home ice loss to the Bruins on Oct. 25.

Boston saw its’ five game win streak come to an end and lost for just the second time since losing captain Zdeno Chara to a knee injury.

“We just stunk the joint and right now, it’s a matter of moving on, getting ready for tomorrow because there’s nothing great to talk about today,” Julien said post-game.

Former Bruins first round pick, Phil Kessel, who entered the game with just three goals in 27 career games against Boston, opened the scoring with his ninth of the season at 6:46 of the first period. Kessel added the game-winner 18 seconds into the second period.

“I haven’t scored many goals on him,” Kessel said of Rask. “Tonight I was a little fortunate to get a couple past him.”

Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly and forward Tyler Bozak scored less than two minutes apart forcing Julien to make a goaltending change. Rask, who was 10-2-0 in his previous 12 games against the Leafs, allowed four goals on 16 shots.

“I take a lot of blame for getting scored on three times in three minutes,” said Rask. “It’s never good. I’m there for keeping it tight. It wasn’t my night”

James van Riemsdyk and Peter Holland rounded out the scoring for the Leafs.

“Tonight I felt was one of our best starts of the year,” said Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle. “We were on the puck and we were skating, we were directing pucks at the net. Phil’s (Kessel’s) goal was a big goal early. Then we started out the second period the same way.”

Dennis Seidenberg scored the lone Bruins goal while Niklas Svedberg made 15 saves in relief.

Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves in the win.

Leafs salvage point, lose Winnik and Gardiner


The Toronto Maple Leafs concluded their mini two-game road trip with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

The loss of Daniel Winnik and Jake Gardiner were front and centre following the game.

Winnik collided with Avalanche defenceman Jan Hejda in the neutral zone and fell awkwardly on the right side of his head. He then flipped onto his front. He lay motionless on the ice while trainers from both teams secured him on a backboard and took him off the ice on a stretcher.

Considering the way it looked, things appear positive for Winnik.

“After I watched it I didn’t think it was as bad. The bad part about it was he was out of it,” Leafs coach Randy Caryle said post-game per TSN’s Mark Masters. “He did twist his neck, but the brunt of the weight of his body seemed to roll on his shoulder more so he was lucky. It’s never nice to see that, but I think he was fortunate [it wasn’t worse].

“He looks fine. He’s 100 percent fine. He says there’s nothing wrong with him.”

Masters reported that Winnik declined to be interviewed post-game.

Captain Dion Phaneuf admitted it was tough to watch.

“One of the most scary things that I’ve been a part of and watched live,” he said. “When you see the stretcher come out and he’s motionless, that’s something that definitely is not something you want to go through.”

Gardiner took a shot off his left knee late in the first period and had X-rays done at the Pepsi Center Thursday.

The defenseman reportedly suffered a bone bruise.

Phil Kessel, who picked up his seventh goal of the season, missed the first six minutes of the third period with an undisclosed injury and declined to comment when asked post-game.

Tyler Bozak and Richard Panik had the other Leafs goals and Jonathan Bernier made 28 saves in the loss.

Nick Holden, Alex Tanguay and Matt Duchene scored in regulation for the Avalanche, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.

Nathan MacKinnon Tanguay and Duchene all scored in the shootout for Colorado. Reto Berra made 31 saves to improve to 2-0-1 on the season.

Leafs recall Percy as insurance policy

With Just 21 players on its’ active roster the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled defenseman Stuart Percy as an insurance policy.

The Leafs are in Columbus on Friday night before returning home to host the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday.

With seven healthy defensemen on the active roster, the Leafs assigned Percy to the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies on Sunday.

“We felt that he struggled in the two games that we played him in (with seven defensemen),” said coach Randy Carlyle on Monday. “Felt that he’s had a great start to an NHL career, we just felt that if we were going to play seven defensemen and continue to play seven defensemen that it was going to be counter productive for some of our forward group and to stuart percy not getting enough minutes.”

In seven games with the Leafs this season Percy has three assists while averaging 18:14 in time on ice. The Oakville, Ontario native became the first rookie defenseman in franchise history to record a point in each of his first three NHL games.

Originally the Leafs’ first-round pick (25th overall) in 2011, Percy did not appear in a game with the Marlies after being assigned.

Leafs juggle lines in search of goal scoring


The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped to 1-4-0 on home ice on Saturday night following a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

With the day off to think things over on Sunday, head coach Randy Carlyle returned to the practice ice Monday with a new-look set of lines.

Gone is the roommate-tandem first line of Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak flanked by James van Riemsdyk.

Kessel drops to the Leafs’ second line with Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri while David Clarkson was promoted to the top line.

“Just a little bit of moving some bodies around a little bit,” said Carlyle following a practice, which concluded with some intense skating. “A little bit of change. We feel that we’re not really happy with our production 5-on-5, in the last little while, those things happen and hopefully it simulates more offense from our group.”

Daniel Winnik goes from the second line to join Mike Santorelli and Leo Komarov on the third line. The fourth line of Peter Holland between Richard Panik and Matt Frattin remained unchanged with Carter Ashton also taking shifts with the trio. Ashton has yet to play this season.

“Whenever you get an opportunity to play with those types of players… I’ve played with them in the past so hopefully we can generate some chemistry,” said Kadri. “Phil is going to use his speed, I’m going to have to just read off him and (Lupul) is big down low.”

Added Bozak: “We’re not playing our best so obviously they’re going to change things up. We had a rough game as a team last game so we’ve got to try and spark something here and get back in the win column.”

Toronto will entertain the Buffalo Sabres (2-7-0) on Tuesday night in search of their first regulation home ice win of the season.

Sens, Habs and Leafs pay tribute to fallen soldier


The Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will pay tribute to the fallen soldier from Wednesday morning’s shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa prior to puck drop tonight.

Saturday marks the Senators’ first game since Wednesday’s tragedy, which also forced the postponement of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs that night.

Together the three Canadian teams hosting 7 p.m. eastern time starts, will have a ceremony to honor soldiers Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent, who lost their lives this week.

The Senators face the New Jersey Devils at home while the Boston Bruins are in Toronto and the Canadiens host the New York Rangers in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference final.

The anthem is expected done from Ottawa and piped through to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and Montreal’s Bell Centre.

Additionally, the teams will hold a moment of silence for Cirillo and Vincent, who was killed in a hit and run in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

“As we continue to reflect on the tragic circumstances surrounding the deaths of two of our country’s soldiers on Canadian soil, we do so with heavy hearts,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun. “But what doesn’t break us, makes us stronger. Today our country stands more united than ever and so does the entire NHL family.

“We are pleased to join forces with the Canadiens and Leafs in co-ordinating a unique and special tribute (in) honour and recognition of these two brave soldiers, their families and all members of our Canadian military.”

On Wednesday night prior to puck drop between the Penguins and Flyers at the Consol Energy Center, the Canadian anthem was sung to honor the fallen Canadian soldier.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who spent parts of six seasons with the Penguins, said the gesture shows the closeness of the hockey world.

“That’s the hockey world, its’ one big family and when things like that do take place it shows the unity that the league does possess and it’s a great tribute on behalf of the Pittsburgh hockey club and their fans,” he said.

On Saturday night, despite being enemies once the puck drops, the Leafs, Canadiens and Senators will once again show that unity as they come together to pay tribute to the fallen Canadian soldiers.