NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 3rd
(All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (35-30-12) at Toronto Maple Leafs (29-36-13), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Coming off a potentially costly home loss in their last
outing, the Boston Bruins skate into Toronto's Air Canada Centre tonight for
their final 2009-10 meeting with the rival Maple Leafs.
Boston enters tonight's Northeast Division clash as one of the top eight seeds
for the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs, but the team's grasp on a
postseason spot is a tenuous one at the moment.
The Bruins are currently tied with Philadelphia for eighth in the standings
with 82 points, two less than sixth-seeded Montreal and just two ahead of
Atlanta and the New York Rangers. Including tonight's contest, Boston has just
five games remaining in the regular season.
The Bruins failed to help their cause on Thursday, when the club fell to non-
contending Florida by a 1-0 score at TD Garden. The Panthers, who had lost
four in a row coming in, received 36 saves from Scott Clemmensen in an
outstanding performance between the pipes.
Clemmensen outdueled Tuukka Rask, with the Boston netminder stopping 19-of-20
shots in a solid showing of his own. The game's only goal came 7:15 into the
first period, when Florida's Keith Ballard sent a wrist shot that snuck under
Rask's right pad.
"I saw the shot. I thought I had it and I started to squeeze it in and
suddenly it was in the net," Rask said. "It went through my armpit. That's one
of those goals you want to have back. But it's just one goal and you can't be
Boston, which had won four of six prior to the disappointing defeat, will
attempt to bounce back against the basement-dwelling Maple Leafs, whose 71
total points are the fewest in the East. Toronto did come up with an
impressive victory its last time out, though, handing Northeast-leading
Buffalo a 4-2 defeat Thursday at the Air Canada Centre behind a strong third
Luke Schenn snapped a 2-2 deadlock when he scored unassisted with 11:30 left
to play, and Fredrik Sjostrom put the finishing touches on the win with an
empty-net tally in the final minute. Toronto outshot the Sabres by a 13-6
margin over the final session and a 34-24 count for the game.
"The goals we scored were the results of hard work," said Leafs head coach Ron
Wilson afterward. "You have to earn every goal."
Viktor Stalberg and Garnet Exelby also lit the lamp for Toronto, which
received 22 saves out of goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere.
The Maple Leafs will be playing the third test of a four-game residency, the
team's final homestand of the season. Toronto will then close out its campaign
with road tilts at the New York Rangers and Montreal.
Boston owns a solid 19-13-6 road record in 2009-10 and has won its last three
matchups away from home. The Bruins have gone just 0-1-1 in their two previous
stops in Toronto this season, however.
The Bruins are 3-1-1 overall versus the Leafs this season and have prevailed
in eight of the last 10 meetings between the longtime foes.
04/03 11:09:41 ET