NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, April 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (52-18-6) at Toronto Maple Leafs (37-32-8), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - With a costly eight-game losing streak finally snapped,
the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to build some much-needed momentum when they
host the Boston Bruins in Thursday's battle at Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs did serious damage to their postseason chances during an 0-8-0
slide from March 16-29, but Toronto was able to record its first win since
March 13 in its last trip to the ice, notching a 3-2 victory over visiting
Calgary on Tuesday.
Toronto enters Thursday's action one point out of the last playoff spot in the
East, which Columbus currently holds with 83 points. The Blue Jackets, who
hold two games in hand over the Leafs, play Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Detroit is two points in front of Toronto for the conference's first wild card
spot. The Red Wings also own two games in hand over the Leafs, but are idle on
Boston, meanwhile, has already clinched the Atlantic Division title and is
close to wrapping up the East's top seed. With 110 points, the Bruins are nine
points ahead of Pittsburgh for the regular-season conference crown. Both clubs
have six games left and the Penguins are playing Thursday evening in Winnipeg.
Boston is also one point in front of St. Louis for the NHL lead. The Blues own
a game in hand over the Bruins and host Buffalo on Thursday.
In addition to losing a heartbreaking seven-game series against the Bruins in
last season's playoffs, Toronto has lost 11 of the past 13 regular-season
encounters in this series.
The Leafs were able to halt a three-game slide against Boston by posting a 4-3
regulation win when the clubs last met on Jan. 14 in Beantown. The Bruins have
won five of the past six in-season encounters in Toronto.
Toronto halted its lengthy slide with Tuesday's home win over the Flames. The
game was tied 1-1 after two periods, but Dave Bolland and David Clarkson
scored 3 1/2 minutes apart early in the third to take a two-goal lead.
Jay McClement also lit the lamp to support a 20-save effort from Jonathan
Bernier, who helped Toronto end its longest skid since the 2010-11 campaign.
"It's been a long time, too long," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle.
"Obviously it's a much better feeling than any we've enjoyed over the past
couple of weeks here."
Toronto is playing its penultimate home game of the regular season on
Thursday. The Leafs, who are 23-15-1 as the host, will complete a four-game
homestand Saturday against Winnipeg before closing their schedule on a three-
game road trip. The swing begins Tuesday in Tampa Bay and also will feature
stops at Florida and Ottawa.
The Bruins hope to rebound Thursday after losing their first regulation game
in a month, dropping a 3-2 decision in Detroit on Wednesday. Boston held a 2-1
lead early in the third period, but Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist scored
goals 1:42 apart in the latter stages of the third period to lift the Red
Wings to the close win.
It was just the second loss in 16 games for Boston and the club's first
setback in regulation since a 4-2 home loss versus Washington on March 1.
The Bruins also had a club-record road winning streak halted at nine games.
Boston's last loss as the guest came in a 5-4 overtime defeat at Buffalo on
Feb. 26. Wednesday's setback in Detroit also was the B's first regulation loss
in a road game since a 4-2 setback against Los Angeles on Jan. 9.
Boston is 23-11-3 as the visiting team this season and boasts a 13-1-3 record
over its past 17 games as the guest.
Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg tallied on Wednesday for the Bruins. Tuukka
Rask stopped only 17 pucks in defeat.
"It sucks. We don't want to lose game. It doesn't matter if you win 20 in a
row, a loss is a loss," said Rask. "Especially when you lose in the third
period it sucks. We have a new one tomorrow and have to get over this."
The Bruins played the game without forward Jarome Iginla, who was late scratch
due to a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight. Iginla leads the
team this season with 30 goals and is second behind David Krejci with 61
Boston is completing a four-game road trip tonight before hosting Philadelphia
04/03 10:50:33 ET