Maple Leafs-Bruins Preview
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (10-7-2) at Boston Bruins (7-7-5).
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Toronto Maple Leafs try to build on their first back-to-back wins in nearly a month when they visit the struggling Boston Bruins.
Toronto edged the New York Rangers 2-1 on Tuesday night, registering consecutive victories for the first time since a season-high four-game winning streak from Oct. 11-20.
The Maples Leafs once again relied on their league-leading power play as defenseman Bryan McCabe scored both goals with the man advantage. Toronto has converted 25.2 percent of its power-play opportunities, and McCabe leads all players with 17 points on the man advantage.
"It's like he's scoring at will right now," Toronto center Mats Sundin said of McCabe. "He's the best defenseman in the league right now."
Boston has responded well defensively this season, ranking seventh overall on the penalty kill. But the Bruins are struggling to close out games, losing five of its last seven games, including three via overtime or shootout.
Sergei Samsonov's third-period goal Friday got Boston even with the Islanders, but New York responded with three unanswered tallies en route to a 5-2 victory.
The third period has been problematic for the Bruins, who have outscored opponents 43-38 in the first two periods, but have been outscored 26-20 over the final 20 minutes.
"We can't keep saying we're close again, we're almost there - because we're not," said goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who allowed four goals Friday after missing four games with a strained hamstring.
The Bruins hope to take advantage of their extended layoff to get back to basics.
"Nobody's happy with the way we've played, so we're just trying to get better," left wing Shawn McEachern said.
The teams split back-to-back meetings in October.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 16): Maple Leafs - 22 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Northeast Division. Bruins - 19 points, 4th place, 10 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Jeff O'Neill and Eric Lindros, 9 goals; McCabe, 17 assists and 25 points; Jason Allison, 35 PIM. Bruins - Samsonov and Glen Murray, 9 goals; Joe Thornton, 20 assists and 27 points; Hal Gill, 36 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 16): Maple Leafs - Power play: 25.2 percent (31 for 123), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (100 for 121), 13th (tied). Bruins - Power play: 19.0 percent (23 for 121), 10th (tied). Penalty killing: 85.0 percent (108 for 127), 7th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (9-5-2, 0 SO, 3.43 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (1-2-0, 0, 3.36). Bruins - Raycroft (3-6-2, 0, 3.56); Hannu Toivonen (4-1-3, 0, 3.24).
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 27; Bruins, 2-1. At Boston, Samsonov scored the game-winner 1:12 into the third period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 3-4-1 on the road; Bruins - 4-3-1 at home.