TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a great start to the 2011-12 campaign, but the Boston Bruins seem to have their number.
Tyler Seguin scored his first-career hat trick and Tim Thomas made 24 saves for his first shutout of the season as the defending Stanley Cup champions thumped the Maple Leafs 7-0.
The Bruins pounded Toronto 6-2 on Oct. 20 and Saturday was no different as Boston kept the Maple Leafs to the outside all night.
“That’s the second time that’s happened to us this year from this team. I don’t know what it is about them but we didn’t compete right from the opening puck drop,” Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said in a sombre Toronto locker-room. “It was a pretty big game for us—the Stanley Cup champs coming in and they kicked our ass every which way.”
Toronto was unable to mask some of the bad habits Leafs coach Ron Wilson saw in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Columbus.
“The way we were playing in the second and third period against Columbus is an indication of a team that’s going to let things get out of hand at some point,” Wilson said. “We were lucky in that game to have been up 4-0.
“It’s actually probably better for us to go through a game like this right now so that we can focus. If it had been 2-1 or 3-2 or 1-0 it would be ‘Oh we were just a shot away,’ but we weren’t anything close to that tonight.”
Milan Lucic added two goals and an assist for Boston, while David Krejci had a goal and two assists. Shawn Thornton also scored and Patrice Bergeron added three assists for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who seem be finding their game after a sluggish start to the season.
With No. 1 goalie James Reimer still out with concussion-like symptoms, Ben Scrivens was unable to recapture the magic of his NHL debut when he stopped 38-of-39 shots against the Blue Jackets. The Leafs rookie allowed five goals on 14 shots against the Bruins.
“It seemed like every chance they got wound up in the back of the net,” Scrivens said. “I got some fortunate bounces Thursday night in Columbus and it just didn’t go my way tonight.”
Scrivens was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson after the fifth Boston goal and apologized to his teammates on the way to the bench.
“I said ‘I’ve got to be better for you guys,'” Scrivens said. “At the end of the day, things are going to happen. It’s my job to try to bail my team out and I don’t think I did a great job of that tonight.”
Gustavsson finished with four saves and was jeered by a frustrated crowd in the third after the seventh Boston goal.
The Bruins (5-7-0) took control of the game early in the second and scored goals in quick succession on three separate occasions.
Seguin, who the Bruins drafted second overall with one of the picks acquired in the Phil Kessel trade, gave Boston a 2-0 lead just 34 seconds into the middle period when he batted a deflected Bergeron pass out of midair past a helpless Scrivens.
Lucic stretched the Boston lead to three eight seconds later on a breakaway off a great feed from Zdeno Chara. Wilson used his timeout after the goal, but it did little to stem the Boston surge.
Seguin completed his hat trick at 15:01 when he beat Scrivens with a snapshot shortside and Krejci made it 5-0 just 14 seconds off a feed from Lucic.
Seguin, a native of Brampton, Ont., said he doesn’t put much stock in the fact that the pick used on him was part of the Kessel trade.
“To be honest with you, I don’t really think about it too much,” Seguin said, who added a power-play goal in the first. “Obviously, I was a Leafs fan growing up, so to get a hat trick against them is pretty cool. I’m going to remember this one for while.”
The fifth goal was the end of a disappointing night for Scrivens, who flew in family and friends from Spruce Grove, Alta., to see his first home game with Toronto (9-4-1).
Lucic beat Gustavsson off a pass from Krejci to make it 6-0 at 5:44 of the third and Thornton banged home his first of the season for Boston’s seventh 28 seconds later.
Kessel has 10 goals and 11 assists on the season. He’s been held pointless in just three times this season, but two of those games are against Boston. Unfortunately for Toronto, Kessel was far from the only culprit on a night when very few Maple Leafs showed much willingness to get to the front of the net or pay the price.
“We made a lot of mistake tonight that are uncharacteristic of our team,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. “You park this one in the loss column and you move forward. Are we happy about it? No. But we have to move forward as if we would have won tonight.”
The Bruins started the season 3-7-0 but beat Ottawa on Tuesday after back-to-back losses to Montreal and defeated another Northeast Division opponent in Toronto to get out of the Eastern Conference basement.
Seguin, meanwhile, has earned the trust of his coach as a second-year player who is still just 19.
“That’s just called experience,” Claude Julien said. “You got to remember, it’s a huge step for an 18-year-old to come into the league and go from playing against boys to men. He got better as the season went on last year, but this year he’s a confident player.”
Notes: Defenceman Luke Schenn, centre Philippe Dupuis and right-winger Colton Orr were scratched by the Maple Leafs. Schenn was benched in favour of Cody Franson. … Defenceman Steven Kampfer and left-winger Benoit Pouliot sat out for Boston. … The Leafs wore their heritage jersey. … Attendance was 19,497.