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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Bruins

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

It'll be James Reimer in goal for the Maple Leafs on Saturday night when they face off with the Bruins at TD Garden in Boston. Reimer has won his last two starts and has stopped 73 of the last 77 shots he has faced since relieving Jonathan Bernier on March 26. Reimer is 5-5-1 in 12 career regular season games against the Bruins with a 2.64 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

The Leafs will look to win their third game against the Bruins tonight after earning wins in November and December over their division rival. Taking two points from Boston would put a dent in the Bruins' playoff hopes as they are currently fighting with Ottawa and Florida to stay in the Eastern Conference race.

"We want to give these two teams (Boston and Ottawa) the respect they deserve by putting a really good game on and pushing," said Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek of this weekend's doubleheader. "We want to give ourselves the respect of going out and playing hard all the way through. "

"Every individual player has something to prove and something to show. Every player is a little different depending on their situation but I think there's lots of things that are important to tonight."

Peter Holland will not make his return to the lineup tonight but is a good bet to play on Sunday night against the Senators.

The Leafs can expect to face a Bruins team focused on cutting down chances and goals-against, having only surrendered two goals per game in their last five. Tuukka Rask will be the starter in goal for Boston.

"We've always been a team that, when we protect our end well, usually good things follow. We're a team right now, we don't have any 50-goal scorers. So it's not about, necessarily, just playing defense, it's about understanding what we have," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "We've got a lot of guys that can score, but not at the rate of 50 goals, so we have to make sure we keep our goals against down. Normally when we do that, we win hockey games."

The Bruins have picked up points in 13 of 16 games since the beginning of March.

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs continued their road struggles and lost a 4-3 game in Buffalo on Wednesday after a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday. They are 2-8-0 in their last 10.

Toronto is 8-26-5 on the road this season.

The Bruins are fighting for their playoff lives and have found ways to pick up points, most recently beating the Red Wings by a 3-2 score in Detroit on Thursday. They are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games.

Boston is 23-10-7 on home ice this season.

LAST MEETING

The Leafs rang in the new year with a 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins on New Year's Eve. Nazem Kadri had the shootout winner, while the Leafs also got goals from Leo Komarov, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. Jonathan Bernier made 25 stops to outduel Tuukka Rask for a victory.

Toronto has won two of the three meetings between the teams this season.

ONE TO WATCH

David Pastrnak

Pastrnak has been a shot in the arm for the Bruins over the course of the second half of the season. After a handful of trips between Boston and Providence, he has settled in as a productive NHLer with 10 goals and 27 points in 42 NHL games as an 18-year-old.

Listed at 6-feet and 167 pounds, Pastrnak is not the biggest player on the ice. He possesses good mobility and on the puck ability, which he uses to create offensive opportunities for himself and teammates. With what he has shown as a teenager at the NHL level, his development going forward is an exciting thought for the Bruins and their supporters.

On the ice, he has been a positive possession driver with the Bruins taking roughly 56 per cent of the shot attempts with him on the ice. That is a 6.7 per cent mark up from what the team produces when he is on the sidelines.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here's how the Leafs and Bruins are expected to line up tonight...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

15 Lindstrom - 43 Kadri - 18 Panik

47 Komarov - 23 Smith - 19 Lupul

20 Booth - 22 Sill - 37 Bailey

Defence

2 Brewer - 3 Phaneuf

51 Gardiner - 44 Rielly

57 MacWilliam - 33 Erixon

Goaltenders

34 Reimer

45 Bernier

Boston Bruins

Forwards

63 Marchand - 37 Bergeron - 46 Krejci

17 Lucic - 51 Spooner - 14 Connolly

21 Eriksson - 34 Soderberg - 18 Smith

23 Kelly - 11 Campbell - 88 Pastrnak

Defence

33 Chara - 62 Trotman

47 Krug - 44 Seidenberg

43 Bartkowski - 54 McQuaid

Goaltenders

40 Rask

72 Svedberg

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