|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
There’s something about Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs that brings the best out of the Bruins, even if they got off to an early-season funk.
The Maple Leafs lead the Northeast, and the Bruins are the cellar-dwellers, but that doesn’t seem to matter when the two teams take the ice. Behind the first career hat trick from Tyler Seguin, the Bruins won 7-0 Saturday night, and have now scored 13 goals in two games against the Leafs (2-0) with just 21 goals against everyone else (3-7).
Kessel, of course, once played for the Bruins but was traded for two first round picks (Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) and a second round pick (Jared Knight) three years ago. The trade may finally be working out for Toronto, as Kessel is the early season front-runner for the Hart Trophy. He has 10 goals and 11 assists in 14 games, putting him on a 50-plus-goal pace for the season. But on Saturday night, he was held to a -1 and 0 points.
Seguin, meanwhile, was outstanding at the Air Canada Centre (where he would be playing if the Leafs didn’t trade for Kessel). He finished with three goals (one in the first and two in the second) to give him a team-leading seven on the season.
He wasn’t the only Bruin to get in on the action.
Milan Lucic appears to be getting out of his own season-long funk, as he scored two goals and added an assist. Patrice Bergeron finished with three helpers, while Shawn Thornton, David Krejci and Gregory Campbell capped off the scoring for the B’s.
Tim Thomas finished with 25 saves to earn the shutout.
The Bruins have now won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Boston still is last in the Northeast at 5-7-0, but the team has a +6 goal differential thanks to their lopsided wins over the Leafs, and their crushing close losses to other opponents.
In the same breath, the Leafs have a -1 goal differential thanks to their pitiful losses to the B’s this season.
The Bruins next play on Monday against the Islanders at the TD Garden.