NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, December 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (14-9-2) at Boston Bruins (15-7-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A near-perfect November has put the Boston Bruins on top in
the Northeast Division. A fourth straight regulation victory over the Toronto
Maple Leafs will keep them there.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins conclude a home-and-home series this
evening with the Maple Leafs in a battle at TD Garden.
After capturing its first title since 1972 a season ago, Boston found itself
last in the division at the end of October with just a 3-7-0 record.
The Bruins got going with the flip of the calendar, winning their first 10
games of November en route to a 12-0-1 record in the month. The 13-game point
streak is Boston's best since a 17-game unbeaten streak from Jan. 5-Feb. 13,
1983 and has the Bruins a point ahead of the Maple Leafs for the top spot in
the Northeast Division.
Wednesday's 6-3 victory over the Maple Leafs allowed the Bruins to overtake
them for first place, a win that was keyed by a pair of goals from Milan
Lucic. David Krejci added a goal and two assists one day before he would sign
a three-year contract extension with Boston.
Zdeno Chara had a goal and a helper to give him a career-best 14 points in
November and help the Bruins got an entire month without a regulation defeat
for the first time since January, 1969.
Tim Thomas made 34 saves for a Boston club that hasn't lost in regulation
since Oct. 29.
"It was everyone stepping up, doing their job and playing like we ended off
last year," Lucic said.
The Bruins have now taken all three of their meetings with the Maple Leafs so
far this season by a 19-5 margin. Their 6-2 home win on Oct. 20 gave them a
7-1-1 mark over Toronto in the last nine at Boston.
Joffrey Lupul had a goal for the Maple Leafs to extend his point streak to
seven straight games. He has three goals and eight assists in that span and
was named the NHL's Third Star for the month.
Thomas won all nine of his starts in November to earn the First Star.
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 34-of-39 shots in a losing effort.
"That's a good hockey team. They seem to have our number," said Toronto head
coach Ron Wilson. "I was actually pleased with the way we played.
Unfortunately, they got five or six power plays and we only had really one and
a half. I thought we worked hard enough to draw a few more penalties but we
Mikhail Grabovski and Matt Frattin also scored for the Maple Leafs, who had a
three-game win streak ended.
12/03 10:40:46 ET