NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 20th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0-1) at Boston Bruins (2-4-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to continue their excellent start to the season tonight in Boston, as the Bruins host a Northeast Division battle at TD Garden.
Toronto is off to a 4-0-1 start in 2011-12 and the Leafs are coming off Wednesday's home win over Winnipeg. That victory completed a season-opening, five-game homestand and the Maple Leafs will play their first road test this evening. Toronto, which is kicking off a four-game road trip tonight, was 19-19-3 as the visiting team last season.
Joffrey Lupul scored twice in regulation and posted the shootout winner, as Toronto rallied from a two-goal deficit to down the Jets, 4-3, at Air Canada Centre.
Phil Kessel added a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs, giving him 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists) in just five games.
"Time will have to tell if he finds a way to be more consistent," said Leafs head coach Ron Wilson of Kessel's early-season breakout. "He's back-checking, fore-checking, making good decisions with the puck and staying on top of things. He wants the puck all the time, he's demanding it and he's getting it. That's the most important thing."
James Reimer stopped 26-of-29 shots through 65 minutes then both chances in the shootout to earn the win. The sophomore netminder is 24-10-6 in his career and is 3-1-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average in four lifetime games against the Bruins.
Toronto lost forwards Colby Armstrong and Clarke MacArthur to injury in Wednesday's game. Armstrong did not make the trip to Boston with his lower- body issue, while MacArthur is questionable tonight with an undisclosed injury.
The Bruins, meanwhile, continued their early-season struggles on Tuesday, when the defending Stanley Cup champions were dealt a regulation loss by the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. It was the fourth loss in six games (2-4-0) for the Bruins.
Lack of offense has been an issue for the Bruins this year, as head coach Claude Julien's club has just 10 goals over its first six contests. Boston managed just one goal in Tuesday's loss to the Hurricanes, marking the third time this year that the B's have been held to one goal or less.
Carolina's Joni Pitkanen registered a goal and two assists in the 4-1 victory at TD Garden. Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu also notched key back-to-back power- play goals late in regulation for the Hurricanes and Cam Ward stopped 33-of-34 shots for the win.
Rich Peverley recorded the lone score for the Bruins, who have lost four of six to start a season for the first time since 2006.
Tuukka Rask was shelled for all four goals on just 23 shots in his second start of the campaign.
"What I see is frustration setting in and the minute we start getting frustrated we lose focus of our game and then it gets worse and worse," Julien told his club's website. "And that's been a bit of a pattern this year."
Bruins No. 1 netminder Tim Thomas has been one of the few bright spots for Boston this season and the two-time Vezina Trophy winner is expected to be back between the pipes tonight. Thomas has a 1.98 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in four outings this year and is 15-6-5 with a 2.91 GAA in 27 career games against the Leafs.
Boston forward David Krejci missed his third straight game on Tuesday due to a mid-body injury and he is questionable for tonight's tilt. Krejci was tied for Boston's team lead with 62 points last year and has just one goal in three games this season.
Toronto claimed four of six meetings with the Bruins last season, including the final three encounters of the campaign. The Maple Leafs have also won their last two games in Boston, but the Bruins still have seven victories in the last 10 matchups at TD Garden.
10/20 10:40:26 ET