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Bruins, Leafs renew rivalry in Boston
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will renew a rivalry with an old Original Six foe when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs for Saturday's Atlantic Division clash at TD Garden.
This marks the first of four scheduled meetings between the Bruins and Maple Leafs this season. It's also the first encounter between the teams since Toronto suffered a monumental collapse at TD Garden in Game 7 of last spring's opening-round playoff series.
The Maple Leafs surprised just about everyone by pushing Boston to seven games in the first round back in May and then held a 4-1 third-period lead in Game 7 before coming apart at the seams. The Bruins scored three times in the final 10 minutes of regulation to send the decisive game into overtime and then won it 5-4 on a Patrice Bergeron goal in the extra session. Adding to the heartbreak for Toronto fans, the hated Bruins went on to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance after eclipsing the Maple Leafs in the classic Game 7 battle.
Not counting the playoffs, Boston also has taken nine of 10 from the Maple Leafs and Toronto has dropped five straight and 11 of the past 13 meetings in Beantown.
This season, the Bruins and Maple Leafs are separated by three points in the division standings. With 22 points, Toronto is tied for first in the Atlantic with Tampa Bay and Boston is three points behind in fourth.
Boston halted a two-game slide in its last trip to the ice, beating the visiting Florida Panthers by a 4-1 score on Thursday. Tuukka Rask stopped 23- of-24 shots to anchor the Bruins to their second win in six games (2-3-1).
David Krejci netted his third goal of the season midway through the second period for Boston. Brad Marchand, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith also scored for the Bruins.
"The effort and willingness was there; for the whole 60 minutes, we had really good consistency in our game plan," said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Saturday's tilt marks the third portion of a five-game homestand for Boston, which is 5-3-1 at TD Garden this season.
The Maple Leafs won for the fourth time in five games on Friday, as James van Riemsdyk netted the lone goal of the shootout to lift Toronto to a 2-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils.
Phil Kessel tallied in regulation and Jonathan Bernier came up with 34 saves for the Maple Leafs.
After four straight chances were turned aside, van Riemsdyk was the third shooter for Toronto, opening up the final round by beating Cory Schneider on the forehand.
Bernier then forced an Adam Henrique chance wide to end the contest.
James Reimer will get the start in net on Saturday for Toronto. Reimer is 4-4-1 with a 2.76 goals against average in nine career outings against the Bruins. Reimer also was the goaltender during Toronto's Game 7 meltdown against the Bruins, giving up five goals on 35 shots in that heartbreaking loss.
"Sure, we'll want to go into Boston and have a good game," Reimer told the Toronto Sun. "It's a new season and we've got over what's happened. I'd want to go in there and play well, but even if you win, it doesn't prove anything. If we were to play them again in the playoffs, that would be the retribution."
The Maple Leafs are opening up a three-game road trip on Saturday and have a 5-3-0 record this season as the guest.
11/09 11:08:06 ET