BOSTON — In an effort to get his entire team’s offense going, especially ex-Bruins winger Phil Kessel, Toronto head coach Ron Wilson is expected to march out some new lines tonight against Boston at TD Garden.
One of those trios will feature Tyler Bozak between Kessel and veteran winger Joffrey Lupul. Kessel and Bozak clicked for much of last season, but failed to find that magic this season before they were separated. Bozak enters tonight’s game with just 8-12-20 totals in 56 games. He hasn’t scored in his last 10 contests.
Kessel, meanwhile, has gone 14 games without a goal and his season’s line reads 19-17-36 and minus-19 in 56 games.
“Obviously, I’ve been changing up a little bit lately. I haven’t been getting it going, so hopefully something will happen,” said Kessel about the line changes after the Leafs’ morning skate.
Bozak was a little more expansive on the new-look lineup.
“It’s been up and down this year,” he said of his chemistry with Kessel. “Last year, we kind of clicked right off the bat and things worked out for the rest of the year there when I came up. But it’s been a tough year for both of us at times, and he’s a great player to play with.
“Obviously, I love playing with him. He’s so dynamic and so talented offensively, you know that if you give him the puck you’ve got a good chance of getting it in the net. So I obviously enjoy playing with him and hopefully we can get back to doing what we did when things were going well and carry on from there.”
Kessel can expect the usual raucous greeting every time he takes the ice and touches the puck. As usual, he publicly tried to brush off the effects of the razzing when talking about it this morning. But to Bozak, the booing and chanting are things he and his linemate can turn into a positive.
“I personally enjoy that. I always joke around with him that every time he gets out there he’s getting booed, and I always think ‘that’s pretty cool,’” said Bozak. “I’d like that if I was him. It kind of gets me fired up. I obviously want him to do really well whenever he plays here and it makes me play good too I think.”
Kessel’s quest for his first career goal against his old team continues tonight, with Bozak hoping to provide the aid his linemate needs.