Bruins, Leafs resume rivalry in Toronto
BRUINS (20-11-6) at MAPLE LEAFS (14-19-4)
-- NESN (HD); SNET-O (HD)
-- Boston 4-3-3; Toronto 4-6-0.
-- This is the third of six meetings between these Original Six rivals. Both clubs were victorious on home ice in its previous two games this season.
-- Both Boston and Toronto have hit a bit of a bump in the road recently. The B's have currently dropped two straight road games in the shootout after having previously won three in a row. The Leafs will try to build off a a 5-1 win at Ottawa on Saturday, but had dropped five of their last six games prior to the New Year's Day victory, including a current three-game losing streak at Air Canada Centre.
-- Boston surrendered a 3-1 first-period lead at Buffalo on New Year's Day and evenutally fell to the Sabres 7-6 in the shootout. Two nights before, the B's fought hard but left Atlanta on the losing side of a 3-2 shootout result. Despite the two-game winless streak, the Bruins have still managed a point in four of their last five games and as of Sunday night stood atop the Northeast Division with 46 points. Monday will mark the end of a five-game road trip for Boston.
Although the Bruins have been turning in a decent effort recently, head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with his team on Saturday night at Buffalo.
"It's not an easy game to watch from behind the bench," said Julien. "At the end, we didn't handle that well at all."
-- Losers of five of their last seven games and currently sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference with just 32 points, the Maple Leafs have a steep hill to climb if they hope to compete with the playoff clubs in the East this season. However, a big 5-1 win at Ottawa on Saturday was definitely a step in the right direction. Toronto got goals from four different players against the Sens, including two from Tyler Bozak.
"It's a good year so far, even though it's only been a day," Bozak joked following Saturday's win.
-- Goalie Tim Thomas
has been the Bruins most solid player all season long. He is 3-0-2 over his last five starts and has totaled 146 saves over that span. For Toronto, center Mikhail Grabovski has found the score sheet in nine of his last 11 games, totaling 11 points (8-3-11) over that span.
-- Center Gregory Campbell
has missed the last two games for the B's due to illness. Goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere (lower body) remains on injured reserve for Toronto.
-- As of Sunday, Tim Thomas
leads all NHL goalies in save percentage (.945), goals-against average (1.80) and shutouts (tied with Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist with 5).
-- Maple Leafs' rookie goalie James Reimer earned his first NHL victory on Saturday, but has usually just been observing the games from the bench as Jonas Gustavsson shoulders most of the goaltending duties in Giguere's absence. The youngster hasn't been treated to too many fine moments in his breif tenure with the pro club, but he was happy with what he saw from the goalie crease Saturday in Ottawa.
"It was fun and probably the best game I've seen us play since I got here, so they made it easy on me," Reimer said.