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Game Day Preview

Tuesday, 07.01.2003 / 12:00 AM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Game Day Preview
GAME: Boston Bruins (21-13-4-1) at Toronto Maple Leafs (20-15-4-1).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

After a slow start on their home ice this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are back to dominating opponents at Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs look to extend their home unbeaten streak to 12 games when they host the slumping Boston Bruins.

Toronto went an Eastern Conference-best 24-11-6-0 at home in the 2001-02 regular season en route to playing in the conference finals, but began this season with just four wins in its first 12 home games.

The Leafs beat the Bruins 2-0 at Air Canada Centre on Nov. 19 to begin a 10-0-1 run in their last 11 games at the venue, including a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Tom Fitzgerald, Mats Sundin, Nik Antropov, Shanye Corson, Gary Roberts, Mikael Renberg and possibly Karel Pilar will all be out of the lineup against the Bruins.
Graig Abel Photography
Ed Belfour made a season-high 50 saves, and Travis Green scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as Toronto improved to 5-1-2-1 in its last nine games.

"If it wasn't for Eddie, I don't know where we'd be," Toronto forward Alexander Mogilny said. "We've got to ride him till he drops -- basically.

We've just got to pray he stays healthy." Toronto went unbeaten at home in a club-record 18 straight games in the 1953-54 season.

"It's always nice to have confidence in our own building," Tie Domi said.

Boston lost 4-2 on Saturday to the Carolina Hurricanes for its third straight defeat and fourth in five games.

The Bruins are 2-9-1 since losing just five times in their first 27 contests of the season.

"We're just not playing like we should," Boston goaltender John Grahame said. "It's very confusing out there. It kind of feels like we're in quicksand. The harder we try, the deeper we sink." Boston is 1-5 in its last six road games, and has been outscored 26-14 over that span. The Bruins have been shut out 2-0 in each of their last three games in Toronto.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 5):
Bruins - 47 points, 2nd place, 7 PB, Northeast Division.
Maple Leafs - 45 points, 3rd place, 9 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS:
Bruins - Joe Thornton and Glen Murray, 21 goals; Thornton, 31 assists and 52 points; P.J. Stock, 101 PIM.
Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin, 18 goals; Mogilny, 26 assists and 42 points; Domi, 74 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 5):
Bruins - Power play: 17.1 percent (29 for 170), 12th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.0 percent (164 for 200), 19th.
Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.4 percent (38 for 186), 5th. Penalty killing: 86.6 percent (181 for 209), 6th (tied).

GOALTENDERS:
Bruins - Grahame (11-8-2, 1 SO, 2.60 GAA); Steve Shields (8-6-2, 2.72).
Maple Leafs - Belfour (18-11-3, 5, 1.98); Trevor Kidd (2-5-1, 3.74).

SEASON SERIES: 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 19; Maple Leafs, 2-0. At Toronto, Mikael Renberg and Paul Healey scored third-period goals, and Belfour made 29 saves as the Leafs snapped the Bruins' five-game unbeaten streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS:
Bruins - 9-7-2-1 on the road
Maple Leafs - 14-7-2-0 at home.
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