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Bruins-Maple Leafs Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Boston Bruins (25-30-10) at Toronto Maple Leafs (29-28-6).

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

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins both realize they can't afford to lose many more games.

Toronto looks to win consecutive contests for the first time in over a month, while Boston tries to end a five-game skid in a matchup of teams struggling to remain in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

The Leafs are tied for 10th in the East with the New York Islanders, while Boston's losing streak has dropped it to 13th in the conference.

Jason Allison scored two goals and added an assist as Toronto beat Tampa Bay 5-1 on Saturday for its second win in three contests following a five-game slide. The Leafs haven't posted back-to-back victories since Feb. 4-7.

"We have to treat every game like a playoff game right now because they are," Allison said. "I think the guys have, and I think we'll continue that way. We have a lot of confidence that we are going to get in."

The Leafs, looking to reach the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, have only seven wins in 24 games since Jan. 1 - tied for the second-fewest in the NHL since that time.

"There's so much at stake for us," captain Mats Sundin said. "We have to make sure to help out and keep the puck out of our net. We've done that a lot better the last three games."

The Bruins fell 6-2 to Buffalo on Sunday for their fifth straight defeat, and have dropped 10 of 13 since Feb. 1. The losing streak matches the longest of the season for Boston, which also reached 30 losses in a season for the first time since 2000-01.

"It's crunch time and we have to go," defenseman Hal Gill said. "The effort that was there just wasn't good enough at all."

This is the seventh meeting between these Northeast Division rivals this season, with each team winning twice at home and once on the road. They conclude their season series with a matchup in Boston on April 6.

STANDINGS: Bruins - 60 points, 5th place, 31 PB, Northeast Division. Maple Leafs - 64 points, 4th place, 27 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Marco Sturm, 23 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 33 assists and 53 points; Gill, 100 PIM. Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 24 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 44 assists; Bryan McCabe, 57 points and 94 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 15.3 percent (52 for 339), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (322 for 384), 10th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.2 percent (80 for 397), 4th. Penalty killing: 80.8 percent (319 for 395), 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Tim Thomas (8-7-4, 1 SO, 2.29 GAA); Andrew Raycroft (8-18-2, 3.67). Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (22-22-4, 3.29); Mikael Tellqvist (7-6-2, 1, 2.88).


LAST MEETING: Dec. 23; Maple Leafs, 2-1. At Toronto, Tucker and McCabe scored, and Belfour made 25 saves to lead the Leafs.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 13-16-4 on the road; Maple Leafs - 19-12-2 at home.

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