Skip to main content

Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010.

Winslow Townson

It was the perfect moment to be a fan of the Boston Bruins, and those in attendance at the TD Garden for a 2-0 win on Thursday night didn't let it slip away unnoticed.

Immediately after the team's budding 18-year-old star, Tyler Seguin, snapped in a goal to put his team up by two in the second period, the crowd broke into an ear-splitting chant aimed squarely at the player they'd traded away to land their next hockey phenom.

"Thank you, Kessel," they roared, again and again.

Story continues below advertisement

In a game that had been billed all week as Seguin versus Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel, it was Seguin's teammates who really delivered a workmanlike defensive effort for the Brampton, Ont., native in his first ever game against the team he grew up rooting for.

Kessel, meanwhile, came out guns blazing with five of the Leafs' eight first-period shots, but received little help and wore down as the game went on, looking once again overwhelmed back where he played the first three years of his NHL career.

Kessel now has but one assist and a minus-6 rating in seven games against his former team, as the Beantown monkey on his back continues to grow. Toronto's next game against the Bruins isn't until Dec. 4 at the Air Canada Centre, one of five more meetings between the teams this season.

Boston seems to have every Leafs players' number of late, having won the last six meetings in a row at home. The loss was Toronto's fourth in its past five games, dropping their record to 5-3-1 this season and 3-9-3 in their last 15 games against the Bruins.

Kessel: What went wrong

If any opposing coach knows how to shut down Phil the Thrill, Bruins bench boss Claude Julien is it. Well-known as a defensive taskmaster, Julien had his fair share of wars with Kessel during their time together in Boston -- mostly over Kessel's penchant for inconsistent play in his own zone and tendency to fade in games when the physical side of things ramped up.

It was no surprise then, when the Bruins went hard at Toronto's lone offensive star, with 6-foot-9 captain Zdeno Chara leading the way with a few particularly nasty checks in the corners.

Story continues below advertisement

Kessel registered only one shot on goal after the first period and appeared to shy away from Big Z late in the game.

Seguin: What went right

Other than his goal -- which came midway through the middle frame on a one-timed shot that beat Jonas Gustavsson five-hole -- Seguin was fairly quiet in the contest. As has been the norm to date, he only played just more than 10 minutes with linemates Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder and had two shots on goal.

One small indication Seguin still has a few things to learn about playing in the NHL came on a first period power play, when he rushed a pass to the point only to have it skitter all the way back into his own end.

In goal

Bruins veteran Tim Thomas appears to have regained his Vezina Trophy winning form, as he was again terrific and remains undefeated in five starts this season. Thomas has allowed only three goals this season, putting him atop the league leaders list in most categories through the first month.

Story continues below advertisement

Gustavsson was the busier netminder given his team was out shot 32-20 and was pretty hard-pressed to make a save on either of the goals. Patrice Bergeron's first period power play marker -- a bullet one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle -- was of the unstoppable variety.

Injury watch

Leafs winger Kris Versteeg watched from the press box as he nurses a sore back, an injury he said Thursday night wasn't all that serious. In his place, John Mitchell played on the second line in just his second game.

Youngster Luca Caputi made his season debut on the third line in the injured Colby Armstrong's spot and played well in limited minutes

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at