Leafs Try To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive vs. Bruins
|RELATED: Last Time They Met: A Closer Look - Feb. 15 | Ulmer: Still Be-Leafing|
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BRUINS (39-21-10) at MAPLE LEAFS (31-31-10)
TV: CBC (HD), NHLN-US (HD), NESN (HD)
Last 10: Boston 5-2-3; Toronto 4-4-2
Season series: Fifth of six meetings this season between these Northeast Division rivals. They've split to this point, with each team winning once at home and on the road. The Maple Leafs have earned an extra point out of the series by virtue of a 3-2 shootout victory on Dec. 4 in which ex-Bruin Phil Kessel provided the decisive tally. Mikhail Grabovski leads all scorers with 3 goals.
Big story: Veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle makes his return to Toronto after being acquired by Boston in a trade on Feb. 18. The 33-year-old Kaberle was in his 12th season with the Maple Leafs when he was dealt. He has 3 assists in 12 games since joining the Bruins and can look forward to his first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six seasons, while his former teammates remain on the outside looking in.
Bruins: This is the finale of a four-game road trip for Boston, which is 1-1-1 to this point. The Bruins played another team desperate for points in Nashville on Thursday, and it was a back-and-forth game as they led the Predators 1-0, trailed 2-1 and led again 3-2 before David Legwand scored midway through the third to force overtime. That's where a Shea Weber power-play goal doomed the Bruins to a 4-3 defeat. They've lost five of their last six.
"We have to get sharper in our decision making because right now it is becoming too costly for us," coach Claude Julien said.
Maple Leafs: The margin for error got even slimmer for Toronto following Thursday's 4-0 loss in Florida. This is a brief stop home in the midst of a stretch where the Maple Leafs play five of six away from the Air Canada Centre. They embark on a three-game road trip starting Tuesday in Minnesota. Rookie goalie James Reimer figures to get plenty of work after veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere got his first start since Feb. 16 and stopped 22 shots against the Panthers.
"We didn't have our legs," forward Clarke MacArthur said. "We're a team that can skate well. We didn't do that tonight."
Who's hot: David Krejci has 3 goals and 6 assists during a seven-game points streak for the Bruins. He's put up 5 goals and 16 assists over his last 17 games. … Dion Phaneuf had 3 goals and 3 assists during a four-game points streak that ended in the Maple Leafs' loss on Thursday.
Injury report: Boston has been without defensemen Shane Hnidy (shoulder) and Andrew Ference (knee), while forward Brad Marchand will serve the back end of a two-game suspension. … Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, while forwards Colton Orr (concussion) and Colby Armstrong (broken foot) are sidelined.
Stat pack: Vezina Trophy candidate Tim Thomas is 1-1-1 against the Maple Leafs this season, posting a 1.96 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. … Reimer had started 13 straight games prior to Giguere getting the nod Thursday, the longest streak for a Toronto rookie goalie since Peter Ing made 19 starts in a row during the 1990-91 season.
Puck drop: While the Maple Leafs are scrambling to try to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2004, the Bruins are busy trying to hang on to their lead in the Northeast. The Canadiens are hot on their trail, although Boston has two games in hand on Montreal entering Saturday.