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Bruins-Maple Leafs Preview @NHL
Bruins-Maple Leafs Preview

GAME: Boston Bruins (7-10-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (12-7-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Boston Bruins continue to look for any spark that will help end their longest losing streak in nearly nine years.

Boston hopes to avoid a seventh straight defeat when it meets the Northeast Division rival Toronto Maple Leafs, who are looking for a season-high fifth win in a row.

The Bruins' losing streak reached six games with a 3-2 defeat Sunday to the New York Rangers. Glen Murray and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston.

Despite the Bruins being on their longest skid since a seven-game slide from March 17-April 3, 1997, coach Mike Sullivan sounded confident the losing would soon end.

"We have to find ways to win and that is what we are trying to do," Sullivan said Monday during practice. "The most important thing is we cannot allow our emotions to take away the focus or the determination to get where we want to be.

"We have to manage it and fight through it every day. The two things that we can control completely and entirely are our attitude and our effort."

Boston is 1-8-1 this season against divisional opponents.

One player struggling for Boston is center Joe Thornton, who has one goal, three assists and a minus-5 rating in the last five games. The top overall pick in the 1997 draft, Thornton has no goals and three assists in three games against Toronto this season.

Toronto won its fourth game in a row on Saturday, 5-1 over the Atlanta Thrashers. Bryan McCabe had two goals and an assist and Alexei Ponikarovsky added two goals.

"I didn't score a hat trick, but it feels good to score a couple of goals," said Ponikarovsky, who had 17 goals in 136 career NHL games before Saturday.

McCabe has been an unexpected source of offense for the Leafs, leading all NHL defensemen in goals (nine) and points (30).

McCabe has four goals and six assists during a four-game points streak. He has a goal and three assists in three games against Boston this season.

Toronto has not won five straight since an eight-game run from Nov. 22-Dec. 6, 2003.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 22): Bruins - 19 points, 5th place, 13 PB, Northeast Division. Maple Leafs - 26 points, 3rd place, 6 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Murray, 10 goals; Thornton, 21 assists and 29 points; Hal Gill, 36 PIM. Maple Leafs - Eric Lindros, 10 goals; McCabe, 21 assists and 30 points; Wade Belak, 38 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 22): Bruins - Power play: 19.8 percent (26 for 131), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (120 for 143), 11th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 24.4 percent (33 for 135), 1st. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (106 for 129), 14th.

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Hannu Toivonen (4-2-3, 0 SO, 3.22 GAA); Andrew Raycroft (3-8-2, 3.56). Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (10-5-2, 3.28); Mikael Tellqvist (2-2-0, 2.85).

SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Thursday; Maple Leafs, 4-1. At Boston, Lindros had a goal and an assist, and Tellqvist made 31 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 3-5-4 on the road; Maple Leafs - 8-3-1 at home.

Associated Press
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