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Bruins, Leafs look to end losing skids

by Eric Goodman
MAPLE LEAFS (23-27-6) at BRUINS (31-18-7)

TV --

Last 10 -- Maple Leafs 4-5-1; Bruins 5-5-0

Season series -- This is the fourth of six regular season meetings between these Original Six clubs. Boston holds the edge with a 2-0-1 record. The Bruins have won six straight at home against the Maple Leafs.

Big story -- Both teams will look to end two-game losing streaks. Also, Toronto has lost six of its last seven games away from Air Canada Centre and will try to improve upon a lackluster 10-16-1 road record.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs --
Toronto hasn't made the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2004 and it'll be tough for them to end that streak in 2011. As of Monday, the Leafs had 10 points and four clubs separating them from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Monday's practice saw defenseman Dion Phaneuf sit out as a routine maintenance day but injured forward Mike Brown (upper body) did skate for the first time since he played Feb. 1 against Florida.

"Just did a little passing and shooting with our strength coach, but it felt pretty good," Brown told reporters after practice. "It's definitely getting better every day."

Bruins -- Although Boston currently sits atop the Northeast Division with 69 points, its hold can be relinquished to the surging Canadiens (68 points) if it doesn't improve soon. While just three games ago they beat the Canadiens 8-6, they were swept in a weekend home-and-home series by the Detroit Red Wings by a combined score of 10-3.

Coach Claude Julien was not too happy with his team's effort Friday at home against Detroit.

"We watched them because I think we were flat," Julien said. "We weren't skating tonight. We were second on the puck, and even when they had the puck I just felt that they had lots of time to make plays. We were very slow reacting."

Who's hot -- The Leafs' Nikolai Kulemin had his points streak end at six games when he went scoreless against Montreal this past Saturday. ... Bruins rookie forward Brad Marchand has 10 goals since Jan. 10, and as of Monday he's fifth among all rookie skaters with 16 goals this season.

Injury report -- Colby Armstrong (eye) remains day-to-day for the Leafs, while Brown and Colton Orr (head) are out. ... Boston expects a fully healthy lineup with the exception of Marc Savard (concussion), who is out for the season.

Stat pack -- It's rare that one player can affect a team so strongly, but Armstrong appears to be that player for the Leafs. Toronto is 20-16-3 with Armstrong in the lineup, but just 3-11-3 when he's out.

Puck drop -- Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson is trying to make due with the players he currently has available, but he's also hoping Armstrong returns to the ice soon.

"He does some things that other guys can't do," Wilson said of Armstrong after Monday's practice. "We have more possession of the puck when he's in the lineup. We have to figure out a way to compensate while he gets better."
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