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The Bruins (4-2-0) will look to get back on track Thursday at TD Garden when they host their first Northeast Division opponent of the year, Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-2-1).
Boston had their four-game win streak snapped at home Saturday night, falling to the New York Rangers, 3-2. Tuukka Rask was back in goal for that contest, dropping his record to 0-2-0 on the young season. Judging by the team’s morning skate Thursday, the unbeaten Tim Thomas will be back in the crease Thursday evening (4-0-0, 0.75GAA).
Toronto led off their season with a four-game win streak of their own before dropping one in overtime to the Islanders. Since then, the Leafs are 1-2-0, losing two in regulation to the Rangers and Flyers before getting back in the win column Tuesday night over the Panthers.
Let’s dive into a few more brief notes about Thursday’s game to get you ready for the action…
– Boston won four of the six meetings between these two Original Six franchises last season, including all three match-ups at TD Garden.
– Thursday will be the first game the B’s will go without Johnny Boychuk in their lineup. The defenseman broke his left forearm in Saturday’s loss to New York, an injury that will likely cost him about four weeks. Adam McQuaid will fill in on blue line duties for the time being.
– For Toronto, they’ll be without forward Colby Armstrong Thursday. The winger injured one of his fingers in Tuesday’s game, an injury that will require surgery. Luca Caputi has been called up to replace Armstrong in the lineup.
– With the Leafs, the story always starts with former Bruin Phil Kessel. Kessel, the team’s leading scorer (7G, 2A), was of course traded to the Maple Leafs before last season, swapped for a trio of early draft picks, one of which helped the B’s land rookie Tyler Seguin with the second overall selection in this past June’s entry draft. Kessel went without a goal in the six games against the B’s last season, registering just a single assist.
– Behind Kessel on the team, points leaders are wingers Clarke MacArthur (6G, 2A) and Nikolai Kulemin (1G, 5A).
– Opposing Tim Thomas Thursday will be one of two Toronto goaltenders… veteran Jean-Sebastian Giguere (4-1-1, 2.30GAA) or youngster Jonas Gustavsson (1-1-0, 2.52GAA).
– Beyond Kessel, the Leafs boast two other former Bruins on their roster. Colton Orr, the team’s resident enforcer, played for the Bruins organization between 2002 and ’06, appearing in 21 games for the big club over that time. The other man is Kris Versteeg, a former fifth round draft choice of the Bruins back in 2004. Versteeg had a great few years with the Providence Bruins from ’05 to ’07, before being dealt to Chicago in exchange for Brandon Bochenski. The deal is arguably one of Peter Chiarelli’s worst as Bruins GM.
– Lastly, Thursday marks Milt Schmidt Night at TD Garden. Before the game, Schmidt will be on hand as the New England Sports Museum unveils a special exhibit dedicated to the fifty years that Schmidt has devoted to the Bruins organization. Schmidt, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame back in 1961, is the only person to serve the Bruins organization as a player, captain, coach, and general manager. He was on the ice as a member of the Stanley Cup winning teams in 1939 and 1941, and was the architect of the ’70 and ’72 winners as the team’s GM. Fair to say we won’t see anyone come through here who will have more of an influence on the Bruins as Schmidt had.