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BOSTON – The scab of their Game 7 defeat here was nearly six months old. And though the sting may have wavered some since mid-May, the Leafs exited TD Garden in Boston on Saturday evening just a little bit short once more. "Youre never going to get an easy game, especially coming in here," said Joffrey Lupul, the lone Leafs goal-scorer in a physically testing 3-1 defeat. "We knew what to expect." Chunks of good, clusters of bad and bits of ugly defined a long-awaited return to Boston, the first since a historic collapse in the first round of the postseason last May. The disjointed but generally inspired effort featured yet another off-kilter, one-sided start; a middle frame that featured arguably the clubs best hockey of the season; and a rare complete defeat in the special teams department. "I think that the game was played in a couple parts for us," said Randy Carlyle afterward, encouraged by some aspects of the performance, unhappy with others. Like a slew of other opening periods this season, the start didnt inspire much confidence for the visitors. Treading water in their own zone for most of the first 20 minutes, the Leafs were caught in retreat by the muscle of the home side attack. Mustering just seven shots – out-attempted 30-14 – they trailed 1-0 on a power-play goal from Zdeno Chara, the first of two opposite a penalty kill that had yet to yield more than one in a game all season. "I didnt think we had a very good start to the game," Carlyle said. "They were all over us." The structure of the evening reversed course considerably in the second. With their line combinations jumbled (more on that below), the Leafs established improbable shift after shift of relentless pressure in the Bruins end. They were fast, physical and completely in line with the template Carlyle has been harping on all year; more slug-it-out hockey and less of the show-time inspired brand thats dominated early season play. "Thats more the type of hockey that were going to ask this hockey club to play," he said of the effort. The Leafs outshot the Bruins 18-10 in the period, mustering a goal when Lupul slung a puck above and beyond the glove of Tuukka Rask, who was otherwise brilliant with 33 saves. "I thought we elevated our game quite a bit, especially in the second period," said Lupul, who fired a season-high eight shots opposite Rask. "We really took control of the game for a while, but unfortunately Rask was pretty solid and we couldnt get that second one by him." It took only 66 seconds for whatever momentum theyd gained in the second to burst in the third, done in by a familiar foe. Patrice Bergeron, left open just outside the blue paint on a power-play, scored what proved to be the game-winner. He would add an empty-netter to stem any late comeback. A rare instance in which their special teams was beaten entirely, the Leaf power-play – which entered the evening as the leagues 5th best – failed in all three opportunities, including a glorious chance with less than five minutes to go. The penalty kill, as mentioned, yielded more than one goal against for the first time all year. "We battled hard and it looked like we ran out of gas in the third period," Carlyle said. Just as they proved in improbable fashion late last spring, the Leafs showed themselves a worthy rival of the revamped Bruins once more on this night. But as has been the case throughout the course of an uneven start (now 11-6-0), they were unable to string together a well-rounded effort in line with the identity they aspire to establish; their woeful start, empty special teams, and late fizzle all to blame. There was certainly good in the loss, as there was in the playoff run, but not enough to overcome a team of Bostons caliber. "Were here to get two points and we didnt," Lupul concluded. "Thats disappointing, but certainly some positives we can take out of it." Five Points 1. Kadri scare Coming through the neutral zone midway through the third frame Nazem Kadri was crunched by Johnny Boychuk, his jaw squarely in the firing line of the 6-foot-2, 225 pound Bruins defender. After skating gingerly to the bench, the 23-year-old had a brief conversation with head athletic therapist Paul Ayotte before departing to the dressing room for concussion tests. “They pretty much forced me to [go],” said Kadri. “As I was going through the test I was getting pretty agitated and just wanted to get back out there.” The test, as Kadri explained it, was of the generic sort. “Month, date, who we played last, months of the year,” he said. “They make you say it backwards and then youve got to remember four or five words and say it backwards. I guess its something thats mandatory now and I had to do it.” As for the hit itself, Kadri wouldnt say if he believed it to be dirty. “Its tough for the referee to call; everythings happening pretty fast,” said Kadri, who did receive an explanation from the official as to why no penalty was called. “But my helmet was almost sideways when I looked up. Thats for the league to decide and Im sure they can see it a lot better when its slowed down.” Already down Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland down the middle, the Leafs could ill afford an injury to their sparkplug centre. But aside from being a little sore, Kadri claimed to be fine. 2. Lines redrawn After yet another lacklustre start, Carlyle redrew his line combinations to much success in the second frame. Though Phil Kessel would bounce from line to line in attempts to shake free of the Chara shadow, the combinations would appear as follows: Mason Raymond James van Riemsdyk Phil Kessel Joffrey Lupul Nazem Kadri Nikolai Kulemin Carter Ashton Jay McClement David Clarkson Frazer McLaren Jerred Smithson Troy Bodie Carlyle trimmed his bench in the final period, employing 10 forwards; Bodie and McLaren did not see the ice in the third. 3. Ranger Progression Paul Ranger is now 17 games into his NHL comeback. He believes hes better adjusted to the speed of the game with each day gone by. "Just playing the game faster," he told the Leaf Report earlier this week. "When youre young you have to almost build up to it. Ive been there [before] so I know what it is; its just a matter of getting my mind and my body trained to be able to do it again." Ranger had 270 games of NHL experience before he joined the Leafs this past summer, all in Tampa. One facet of the game the 29-year-old has now, but didnt then, is a physical dimension. Ranger claims to have added 10-15 pounds since he last played with the Lightning in 2009 and feels able to impact the game physically because of it. "I just became a man I guess," he said with a laugh. "I can go and put guys up in the boards, eliminate them from plays and get the puck and go." Predictably inconsistent throughout the year and again on Saturday, Ranger helped the Leafs to their first goal when he broke up Loui Eriksson rush defensively before stumbling on Reimer as the netminder attempted to block Bergerons attempted game-winner. 4. Cap crunch victim When the cap dropped to $64 million this year more than a few players were bound to be squeezed out. Mason Raymond was among them initially; the 27-year-old inked to a professional tryout in training camp before agreeing to a one-year deal with the Leafs on the eve of the season. A veteran of 588 games following the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, Jerred Smithson felt the sting too. "I knew it was a possibility," he told the Leaf Report, "but I also thought something would work out – whether it was here or there or whatever." Smithson was without a contract when NHL training camps kicked off in September, a point of much frustration. He finally agreed to join the Marlies on a professional tryout in mid-October. "I had to keep reminding myself ‘Its out of your control," he said. "Give the fiancé a lot of credit there. She kept things in line and in order. It was probably driving her insane a little bit." Lacking the security of a contract, patience was difficult to find. "I [tried] not to lose too much sleep over it even though it was a tough few months there Im not going to lie," he said. "I couldnt control it so I just had to continue working hard and hopefully get a phone call, whether it was in the NHL, Europe or something like that. But I knew I wanted to continue to play in the NHL. Thats been my goal and dream since I was a little guy; very fortunate to have this opportunity." As it often does, opportunity presented itself with injury. Burned by injuries to Bozak and Bolland, the Leafs looked to the 34-year-old for help. Smithson was signed for one year at the veteran minimum of $550,000. 5. McClement PK Time No player assumed more time on the penalty kill last season than Jay McClement. But early this season the 30-year-old is actually garnering even more opportunity killing penalties than he did a year ago – nearly a minute more per game in fact. McClement is averaging 4:26 nightly for the Leafs shorthanded, significantly more than the 3:35 he assumed in 2013. The last time a forward garnered that much shorthanded ice-time (minimum 48 games) was in the 2006-2007 season. Coached by then-Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, Sammy Pahlsson averaged 4:28 per game for Anaheim – a number inflated by a boom in power-plays post-lockout. Stat-Pack 21:24 – Minutes for Joffrey Lupul against the Bruins, a season-high. 8 – Shots for Lupul, also a season-high. 18-10 – Shot advantage for Leafs in the second period. 2 – Power-play goals against; the first time all season the Leafs penalty kill has yielded more than one. 43 – Hits for the Leafs. 2 – Number of times this season the Leafs have not been outshot; both teams were equal with 34 shots on Saturday. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 21.7 per cent PK: 1-3Season: 83.8 per cent Quote of the Night “Its tough for the referee to call; everythings happening pretty fast. But my helmet was almost sideways when I looked up.” -Nazem Kadri on the hit from Johhny Boychuk. Up Next The Leafs visit the Wild in Minnesota on Wednesday evening. Mark Walton Jersey . The former world No. 1 Djokovic, who is the top seed here despite being ranked No. 2, snuck past 35-year-old Czech showman Radek Stepanek in four high- quality sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), on Centre Court. Djokovic appeared relieved when he converted on his first match point by swatting a cross-court forehand winner that just caught the line to end an affair that featured only two service breaks. Cordy Glenn Jersey . -- Canadian Erik Bedard pitched into the fifth inning in his bid to win a spot in Tampa Bays rotation, helping the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 on Saturday. http://www.bengalsgear.com/authentic-ma ... y.html.com) - The Dallas Mavericks had a five-game winning streak snapped last time out, but theyll try to get back into the winners circle Sunday evening when the Milwaukee Bucks pay a visit to American Airlines Center. Logan Woodside Bengals Jersey . - Young and old. Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys . Raymond, 31, started 15 regular-season games for the Stamps in 2013, racking up 51 tackles. He also returned two kickoffs for 79 yards including a 61-yarder.An MRI on the shoulder of Detroit Red Wings centre Pavel Datsyuk has revealed a second-degree separation and the 36-year-old will be sidelined for four to five weeks. Datsyuk was taken hard into the boards by Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi during the Red Wings 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday. "Its going to be around four weeks, give or take, depending on the healing process, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on Weednesday.dddddddddddd Holland is optimistic based on the timing of the injury. "The good news is, two weeks of the healing process is going to be during pre-season," he added. "So half his time will be during training camp. Thats at least good." This is the third major injury for Datsyuk in the the last year. He missed seven games last season with a concussion and 30 more with a right knee injury. Datsyuk is heading into his 13th NHL season. Wholesale Jerseys China NFL Jerseys China Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2019 Discount Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Throwback Jerseys ' ' '
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