MAPLE LEAFS (15-9-0) at BRUINS (14-3-3)
TV: TSN, NESN
Last 10: Toronto 7-3-0; Boston 6-2-2
Season series: This is the second of four meetings. The Boston Bruins won the first, 1-0 on Feb. 2 at Air Canada Centre, with a first-period goal from Chris Bourque and 21 saves by Tuukka Rask. The Northeast Division rivals play home-and-home March 23 and 25.
Big story: The Bruins have played the fewest games (20) in the Eastern Conference but had three in four days and are in action 14 times in the next 25 days. Boston has not lost consecutive games in regulation, and has not lost more than two in a row this season.
The Maple Leafs, winners of three in a row and 11 of 15, stand fifth in the East at their halfway point, with one of the best goal differentials (plus-12) in the conference. Toronto also hasn't lost more than two in a row, and not since Feb. 2-4.
Maple Leafs: This is Toronto's fifth back-to-back set of the season; in four of them, the Maple Leafs had to travel to face a home team that did not play the day before. The Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators, 5-4 at home on Wednesday, and will try to win both ends for the first time in the five instances.
Toronto is 9-4-0 on the road, trailing the Chicago Blackhawks (10) and tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for most road wins.
"I don't think we've had everyone going on one given night, to prove to us or to prove to themselves how good we can be,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. We've had too many interruptions, I would say."
After this, the Maple Leafs play two home games against the Penguins, sandwiching a road game at the Winnipeg Jets.
Bruins: Boston lost at the Washington Capitals, 4-3 in overtime Tuesday, after leading 3-0 in the first period.
"With the schedule right now, we really got to put games behind us, win or lose," forward Brad Marchand said. "We do have to take the negatives and the positives out of this game and we've got to learn from them. But we have to do that and move on."
The Bruins have six losses, four by one goal, and four in which they have led. They have managed one point in every game they have trailed heading into the third period (2-0-2), but have given up the lead then in their past two.
"We can't be sitting too long on this game," defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "But, at the same time, we can't be avoiding mistakes that we're making."
Those mistakes primarily are breakdowns in their end; two of the Capitals' goals came when one of their players eluded multiple Bruins defenders, one was off a bad clear, and one was off a lost faceoff.
"Sometimes we're just puck watching too much in our own end and not recognizing those guys back door," Rask said. "It's probably one of those things we need to take a look at."
The Bruins had a day off Wednesday.
Who's hot: Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has 10 points in six games, five goals (on 10 shots) in three games. Forward Jay McClement has three goals in his past five games after scoring one in his first 19. … The Bruins' line of Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin have combined for five goals and seven assists (12 points) in three March games. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton has a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists).
Injury report: Maple Leafs forward Matt Frattin (knee) is close to a return after 10 games out, but did not play Wednesday. Forward Joffrey Lupul (arm) has been skating with the team, but no return date is set.
|J. van Riemsdyk||25||13||6||19||+0||16||3||2|