Welcome to the What to Watch segment! Your key NHL game to post on the radar for your weekend hockey viewing.
For this weekend’s pick I will have to go with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Boston Bruins Saturday night. Two Original-Six clubs that are battling it out for the Northeast Division lead in the 2011-12 campaign.
Keys to victory for the Leafs:
–Leave the Past Behind: The Leafs will have to forget the results of the previous meetings with the defending champs this season! Toronto are 0-3 against Boston so far, and have been outscored by a whopping 19-4 in those contests. If they want to win on the road Saturday they will have to wipe the mental slate clean and move forward.
-Magic Carpet Ride: Phil Kessel has been on a tear – leading the league in scoring from the word go. His 32 points (16G, 16A) are the biggest reason for the Leafs fantastic start. Considering he’s a former Bruin, the Leafs need him to be huge in Beantown and continue his magic ride.
-Road Trip: The Blue and White have been very competitive on the road this season. They are 8-5 so far and will need that strength to continue on the first Saturday of December. The Leafs will also have to be disciplined in hostile territory, as their penalty kill has been awful (77.1 %), and ranks 27th in the NHL.
Keys to victory for the Bruins:
-Lucky 13: The defending Stanley Cup champions had a fantastic November! In their 13 games in the month they went 12-0-1, registering their first month since 1969 where they didn’t have a regulation loss. If they want to hold off the hungry Leafs, they will need this momentum to carry over to December.
-Bears’ Den:The Bruins have been loving life on home ice lately. They are 9-5-1 this season at the TD Garden and have been finding ways to win at home. If they can keep their focus and forget about the hype of the home-and-home with the Leafs, they will have a good chance of winning in front of the Black and Gold faithful.
-Young Blood: Second year pro Tyler Seguin has really stepped up his game in 2011. The youngster leads the Bruins in scoring with 24 points (12G, 12A), and his +19 leads not only his club, but the entire league. He also has really enjoyed playing Toronto this season with 7 points (4G, 3A) in three games.
Enjoy this tilt Saturday! It should be an interesting match-up, and it’s always special when Original-Six teams collide. Post any comments or observations you have about the ‘What to Watch‘ game in the ‘Mailbag‘ section, and I will gladly respond! Have a great NHL weekend.
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