BRUINS (39-28-8) at MAPLE LEAFS (27-35-11)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; CBC, NESN, NHL.TV
TORONTO -- The Boston Bruins will attempt to snap a five-game losing streak when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
A sixth consecutive loss coupled with a win by the Detroit Red Wings against the Pittsburgh Penguins would drop the Bruins, currently third in the Atlantic Division, out of a playoff spot. The Red Wings (85 points) trail Boston by one point in the division and have a game in hand.
Boston has the NHL's third best road record (23-11-3), but has lost four in a row away from home. The Bruins lost at the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.
"I don't think our play has been as bad as our record would indicate," coach Claude Julien said. "We had the opportunity to win games in San Jose and Los Angeles. We didn't play well in New York and now we have an opportunity to rebound in Toronto tonight."
Captain Zdeno Chara said the players are not panicking. He said the Bruins have to rediscover their winning ways soon with seven games remaining in the regular season.
"We know it's not a good situation to be losing late in the season with the playoffs just around the corner," Chara said. "That said, we also know we have a good team and we know what we are capable of. Yes we have lost five games in a row, but we need to be looking ahead and worrying about what we can do in our next game. You can't live in the past."
The Maple Leafs, last in the NHL, have been riding a hot streak with three wins in a row and five victories in their past six games. They are 4-1-0 during their current six-game homestand.
Right wing Brad Boyes returns to the lineup after missing eight games with a shoulder injury and hopes to contribute to the team's current performances. Boyes said it is important for the Maple Leafs to end the year on a high note.
"As a team and as individuals, you want to feel good about yourself when the season ends," Boyes said. "It is important moving forward to feel good about your game. You are facing a team that is going to the playoffs and you want to beat them. Winning always makes you feel good."
Here are the projected lineups:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Lee Stempniak
Frank Vatrano - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak
Landon Ferraro - Noel Acciari - Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara - Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow - Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Injured: Chris Kelly (broken femur), John-Michael Liles (lower body)
Scratched: Zach Trotman, Tyler Randell, Brett Connolly
Michael Grabner - Nazem Kadri - Milan Michalek
Zach Hyman - William Nylander - PA Parenteau
Colin Greening - Brooks Laich - Ben Smith
Connor Brown - Tyler Bozak - Brad Boyes
Morgan Rielly - Martin Marincin
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Rinat Valiev - Frank Corrado
Injured: Nikita Soshnikov (lower body), Leo Komarov (lower body), Stephane Robidas (lower body), James van Riemsdyk (fractured foot), Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia surgery), Byron Froese (lower body), Matt Hunwick (sports hernia), Viktor Loov (upper body), Peter Holland (upper body).
Status report: The Maple Leafs sent forward Josh Leivo to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on Friday. … Liles did not accompany the Bruins to Toronto. He suffered a lower-body injury against the Florida Panthers on Thursday and is being further evaluated. Liles will be replaced by Morrow, who has been scratched for six games. … Toronto coach Mike Babcock said Komarov will miss at least 10 more days.
Who's hot: Kadri had two goals and four points in Toronto's 6-5 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. … Parenteau has three points in three games. … Laich has assists in back-to-back games. … Nylander has two goals and five points in three games. … Eriksson has three goals and seven points in seven games. … Vatrano has a goal and an assist in two games.