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Will Phurious Phil Shake The Monkey?

By now, Phil Kessel's poor play in his old barn has to feel like the world's biggest monkey on his back.
But, to shake King Kong, Kessel is going to have to play better at TD Garden, home of his former team, the Boston Bruins.
To say Kessel hasn't played well in Boston since the trade that brought him to Toronto is an understatement. He's been invisible. Will that change tonight? From Kessel's play, of late, I'd say there is reason for optimism.
Kessel and linemate Joffrey Lupul have been on fire through the first five games of the season. That line has been as exciting as any in hockey and there is no reason they should not keep it up against the Stanley Cup champion Bruins, tonight.
Well, there is one or two little things that are concerning, going in to tonight's game.
First is the Leafs choosing to go with "The Monster," Jonas Gustavsson, in net. Why are you throwing this kid to the bears (see what I've done there?), Ron Wilson? If you want to split up the back-to-back games, why didn't you give the kid the Winnipeg Jets? How can you be so cruel?
It looks like a case of the Leafs anticipating a loss and shielding their number one, James Reimer, from failure. I'm sorry. That's what it looks like!
The second blip are these slow starts. Why is it taking 40 minutes for the Buds to wake up, every game? If this happens in Boston, there will be no comeback.
Thirdly, where is the secondary scoring? What happened to the 1B line of Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin? As much as I love Kessel, and I have been singing his praises since before the trade, I fear for how long he can keep the streak up. Especially in the absence of a true number one center.
So, I guess we'll see how tonight goes. The Leafs are beating the teams they need to beat. Now, can they rise up and slap the champs? We shall see.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned Colby Armstrong's "lower-body injury" as another impediment to the Leafs winning in Boston. Armstrong has the kind of irritating sandpaper that goes a long way in twarting the likes of Brad Marchand and others. His absence will be felt. Toronto has now called up Nazem Kadri as replacement. So much for starting the season with the Marlies.



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