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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 23rd (All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (20-6-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (16-12-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs have just one victory in their past seven games, but have still managed to pick up some much-needed points in that time.
That is something they have failed to do as of late against the Boston Bruins.
The Maple Leafs and Bruins are set to wrap their season series with a home- and-home set that begins on Saturday night in Toronto.
The Leafs sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with 35 points, three behind the Ottawa Senators in the standings. They have avoided falling further back in the playoff race by going 1-3-3 in their last seven, but haven't won two straight since the beginning of the month.
After snapping a five-game slide with Wednesday's win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto was dealt a 5-4 setback in Buffalo by the Sabres the following night.
James Reimer made 32 saves through overtime, but was bested twice in the six- round shootout. Tyler Bozak had the lone goal for the Leafs in the tiebreaker after also scoring in regulation.
"We had a lot of guys expending a lot of energy early in the game," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle. "We still found a way to rally and get a point out of it, so it wasn't a total loss tonight."
Nazem Kadri upped his team-leading point total to 33 through 31 games with a pair of goals and an assist, while Mikhail Grabovski added a goal and Phil Kessel came up with two assists.
Toronto played without forward Joffrey Lupul, who has handed a two-game suspension earlier on Thursday for a hit to the head against Tampa Bay.
Lupul, who has three goals in five games this season, will also sit out this game as Toronto looks to snap an eight-game slide versus Boston. Each setback has come in regulation, including the first two of four meetings this season.
The Bruins picked up a 1-0 win in Toronto on Feb. 2 behind 21 saves by Tuukka Rask before backup Anton Khudobin made 25 saves in a 4-2 home victory on March 7. Tyler Seguin scored the go-ahead goal in the second and sealed things with an empty-net tally.
Kadri had one of the goals for the Leafs, who have lost four straight at home to the Bruins.
Boston, which will host Toronto on Monday, snapped a three-game road slide with Thursday's 2-1 victory at the Ottawa Senators. It marked the Bruins 11th straight road win over the Sens.
Dennis Seidenberg scored the tie-breaking goal with 1:04 to play, his first tally in 30 games, while Daniel Paille also scored. Khudobin made 27 saves as the Bruins snapped a two-game slide overall.
"We haven't been playing great hockey lately and we had to fight through it. We asked our guys to battle through it, we knew it wasn't going to be pretty," said Boston head coach Claude Julien.
Boston will wrap a four-game road trip on Saturday and is fourth in the East with 43 points. That is two back of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Northeast Division and the Habs are hosting Buffalo on Saturday.
03/23 10:45:56 ET