In a hard-hitting series opening game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals that featured 99 hits total between both squads, there was an unlikely pugilist in the fold. A quick scan of the hits column in the game’s box score and you’ll see some likely names: Tom Wilson, Matt Niskanen, Matt Martin, Roman Polak and Leo Komarov. But one name sticks out like a sore thumb: Tyler Bozak.
Not exactly known as a wrecking ball on the forecheck, Bozak’s teammates were having some fun with the stat when asked about it at this morning’s media availability.
While JVR may have underestimated his linemate’s season total, he’s not totally off the mark. In 78 regular games with the Leafs this season, the 31 year-old Bozak recorded just 45 hits, making his 7 hit night last night approximately 15% of his season total.
Hard hitting centre Nazem Kadri, who himself managed 120 hits on the season but just 3 last night, also saw the stat and couldn’t help himself from commenting on it, saying "I looked at the stat sheet and saw that Bozie had like 7 or 8 hits and thought it was a typo."
No one is ever going to mistake Bozak for Leafs legend Wendel Clark but it’s nice for Leafs fans to see Bozak elevate his physical game when it matters most.