MAPLE LEAFS (29-43-6) at BRUINS (40-25-13)
TV: CBC, NESN
BOSTON -- Although the Boston Bruins have won four in a row, they aren't clicking on all cylinders just yet.
For instance, it's been 13 games since their leading goal scorer Brad Marchand found the back of the net. Marchand, who has 22 goals, will try to end his slump against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, NESN).
"I hope so. It's been a while," Marchand said after the Bruins morning skate. "I mean, chances are there. I think I've missed three breakaways in that time. It's definitely frustrating, especially with the race that we're in right now. But hopefully tonight can end it, and if not, at least get on the right track to getting out of this funk."
The Bruins are tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with the Detroit Red Wings with 93 points. The Bruins and Red Wings are each three points ahead of the fifth-place Ottawa Senators in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins have played one more game than Detroit and Ottawa.
Boston's recent surge without much contribution at the offense end from Marchand has featured consecutive third-period comebacks against the Red Wings and Florida Panthers. The Bruins are getting crucial goals throughout their lineup at the most important time of the season.
"It's been good. We've had a lot of young guys step it up and that's what you need," Marchand said. "You need different guys to contribute every night and step up at different times. And right now it seems the character's coming out in our team and it doesn't matter the situation, we're confident that we can come back and win or we can take over a game. That's what you need in the playoffs. You need to be able to battle through adversity. Last game, when they got that second goal early in the third, that could've broken our back. But we did a great job of sticking with it and battling back and getting that win."
The Bruins have allowed two goals per game in their past five.
"That's what we discussed here when we went through that little stretch of losing games. We were giving up too many goals," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "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. 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."
Toronto has a chance to impact the playoff race with a game against Ottawa coming up Sunday to complete an important back-to-back.
"We as a team have a chance to play spoiler," defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "I think you've got to embrace that role and make life hard on these guys. We've got a chance to get two points here and take two points from guys that are competing for a playoff spot. So that's all we're going to try to do. We're going to play like playoff hockey and play hard."
Center Peter Holland will not play, according to coach Peter Horachek. Holland, who hasn't played since March 13 because of an injury, is expected to play against the Senators. Horachek said the Maple Leafs didn't want Holland to play back-to-back games.
Here are the projected lineups:
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Joakim Lindstrom
David Booth – Trevor Smith – Joffrey Lupul
Casey Bailey – Zach Sill – Richard Panik
Eric Brewer – Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner – Morgan Rielly
Tim Erixon – TJ Brennan
Scratched: Brandon Kozun
Injured: Peter Holland (lower body), Nathan Horton (back), Stephane Robidas (shoulder), Roman Polak (sports hernia)
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Krejci
Milan Lucic – Ryan Spooner – Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson – Carl Soderberg – Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly – Gregory Campbell – David Pastrnak
Zdeno Chara – Zach Trotman
Torey Krug – Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski – Adam McQuaid
Scratched: Daniel Paille, Max Talbot
Injured: Dougie Hamilton (ribs), Kevan Miller (shoulder)
Status report: Julien left the door open for line changes after the morning skate. But the trios that took line rushes were the ones that finished the game in Detroit on Thursday.
Who's hot: Reimer has won his past two starts in net for the Maple Leafs. … Spooner has a five-game scoring streak with three goals and six points in that span.