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Game Day Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (22-15-4-1) at Boston Bruins (21-15-4-1).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

Two Northeast Division rivals headed in opposite directions meet at FleetCenter when the surging Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Boston Bruins.

The Leafs find themselves two points ahead of the Bruins for second place in the division, thanks to wins in 16 of their last 24 contests. Toronto, which trailed Boston by 16 points on Nov. 30, has lost in regulation just once in its last 11 (7-1-2-1).

Toronto has been able to shrug off an injury to captain Mats Sundin during the streak, which included a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Sundin, who has 18 goals but it out until Monday with a separated shoulder, has seen his team thrive in his absence. Toronto is 4-1-0-1 without its star center.

"This is a pretty gritty team, and we're getting contributions from everybody right now," winger Darcy Tucker said.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have seen their season come unraveled over the last month. Boston's 4-2 loss at Buffalo on Friday was its fifth straight setback and 11th in its last 14.

"We knew we were playing under our level of capability, and they were probably a little bit over theirs and that's why they built such a good lead," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said.

"Now we are probably closer to who we really are. As the games get tougher in the second half we'll find out a lot more about our clubs." The Bruins, whose 19-4-3-1 start seems like a distant memory, got more bad news on Friday. Leading scorer Joe Thornton, hospitalized with an infected left elbow, will not be released until Monday at the earliest.

Maple Leafs - 49 points, 2nd place, 9 PB, Northeast Division.
Bruins - 47 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Northeast Division.

Maple Leafs - Alexander Mogilny and Sundin, 18 goals; Mogilny, 28 assists and 46 points; Tie Domi, 81 PIM.
Bruins - Glen Murray, 22 goals; Thornton, 31 assists and 52 points; P.J. Stock, 101 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 9):
Maple Leafs - Power play: 21.4 percent (24 for 112), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (99 for 118), 16th.
Bruins - Power play: 19.6 percent (18 for 92), 7th. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (71 for 87), 21st.

Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (20-11-3, 5 SO, 1.98 GAA); Trevor Kidd (2-5-1, 3.74).
Bruins - John Grahame (11-9-2, 1, 2.71); Steve Shields (8-7-2, 2.72).

Maple Leafs, 2-1.

Jan. 7; Maple Leafs, 5-2. At Toronto, Belfour made 40 saves and Mogilny scored the eventual game-winner in the third period.

Maple Leafs - 7-8-2-1 on the road;
Bruins - 12-6-2-0 at home.
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