Carlyle Set To Make Home Debut Against Bruins
BRUINS (38-23-3) at MAPLE LEAFS (30-28-70
: NESN (HD), SNET-O
: Boston 4-5-1; Toronto 2-7-1
: The Bruins have dominated the season series against the Maple Leafs with four regulation wins by a combined 23-6, including wins of 7-0 and 6-3 at Air Canada Centre. The teams will play again in Boston on March 19.
: Toronto coach Randy Carlyle will be making his home debut behind the Maple Leafs' bench. Carlyle was hired as Ron Wilson's replacement late Friday night and won his Leafs' debut Saturday in Montreal, 3-1. He has had a morning skate, a game against the Canadiens and full practices both Sunday and Monday to prepare for his first game as the home coach at Air Canada Centre. The Leafs haven't won a home game in a month.
: They're coming off a 4-3 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but the Bruins remain first in the Northeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference. They have not beaten the Eastern-leading Rangers yet this season, but the Bruins have one more chance April 1 at Madison Square Garden.
The Bruins, though, have bigger concerns than not beating the Rangers. They have lost back-to-back one-goal games (also 3-2 against the Islanders on Saturday), and have won only once in their last four games. They haven't won two in a row since Jan. 10-12 when they beat the Jets and then the Canadiens.
"Right now, what can go wrong, will," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. "It's one of those modes."
Perhaps the Leafs are the perfect tonic for Boston. Thomas, who is expected to start with Tuukka Rask still sidelined, has been in net for three of the four blowout wins over Toronto.
: It'll be interesting to see how much gas the Leafs have left after back-to-back long and hard practice sessions under Carlyle Sunday and Monday that were akin to a team going through a mini training camp. The Leafs were on the ice for roughly 90 minutes on Sunday and nearly two hours on Monday going through all the adjustments Carlyle is making to their systems.
"As a group we've done a good job of grasping the little bit of change that he's put into our system, and we've got to keep learning and keep getting better, build day by day," captain Dion Phaneuf
said. "The practices we've had we've worked hard, we've put in the effort, and we're going to try to build on the way we played in Montreal. We were happy how we played as a team, and we've got to build on that."
The Leafs are hoping their 3-1 win over the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday was a slump buster. They won just one of their previous 11 games to fall on the wrong side of the playoff race.
: For Boston, David Krejci, Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic all have three-game point-scoring streaks. Krejci has 4 goals and 1 assist during over the span. For Toronto, Mikhail Grabovski
has 5 points in a three-game scoring streak after scoring only 1 point in his previous nine games.
: For the Bruins, Rask (undisclosed), Nathan Horton (concussion), Rich Peverley (knee), Andrew Ference (lower-body) and Daniel Paille (undisclosed) have all missed time recently. The Maple Leafs don't have any significant injuries.
: Not only are Lucic, Krejci and Seguin the three hottest Bruins right now, they've also dominated the Leafs this season. Lucic leads all Bruins with 10 points on 5 goals and 5 assists in the four games against the Leafs; Krejci has 3 goals and 5 assists for eight points while Seguin has 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points. Thomas is 3-0 with a 1.67 GAA against the Leafs this season.
: "A lot of those games (during the slump) we had the first goal against and our energy just dropped," Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson
said. "We proved that we could change that the other night against Montreal. We got the first goal against, and we jumped back pretty well in that game. That's a step forward. The energy after that goal was different than what we had before. If that's having a new coach, a new staff, then perfect. We can take whatever we need."