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Minus Savard, Bruins pay visit to Maple Leafs

by Mike G. Morreale
BRUINS (29-24-11) at MAPLE LEAFS (20-33-12)

Last 10 -- Boston 6-2-2; Toronto 3-6-1

Season series -- Fifth of six meetings this season between Northeast Division rivals. All four of the previous games have been won by the host team. The Bruins steamrolled the Leafs in the first two by 7-2 and 5-2 scores, then Toronto's Jonas Gustavsson posted his first NHL shutout on Dec. 19 at the Air Canada Centre. In the most recent meeting on March 4, Tim Thomas made 24 saves, stopping Toronto's Tyler Bozak with a pad save to end 3-2 shootout victory.

Big Story --
Boston's Marc Savard, who had already missed 23 games this season with foot and knee injuries, suffered a concussion after losing consciousness briefly when he took an open-ice arm-to-the-head hit on Sunday from Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke with 5:37 left in the third period.

Savard was attended to by medial personnel, immobilized and placed on a stretcher before being carter off. He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 concussion. The hit came one day before the NHL's general managers began meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., to discuss, among other issues, ways to curtail blind-side hits to the head. Savard was not in the hospital but stayed in Pittsburgh Sunday night and was to fly home Monday.

Team Scope:

Bruins -- The Bruins have won six of their last eight games and have taken points out of eight of their last 10 contests to move into the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. The club is currently in a stretch that will have them play 11 of 13 games on the road (6-2-0 thus far) between Feb. 7 and Mar. 16.

Maple Leafs --
The Leafs were penalized 10 times totaling 33 minutes in the first period of Sunday's 3-1 loss in Philadelphia. Left wing Nikolai Kulemin scored his 12th goal of the season and second in two games to pull the Leafs into a 1-1 tie early in the second but two late goals in the second on goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere proved too much to overcome.

Who's Hot -- Toronto's Tomas Kaberle is the only defenseman in the NHL to currently lead his team in scoring this season (46 points). No Leaf defender has ever finished the season leading the club in scoring.

Injury Report --
Boston's Savard (concussion) will be sidelined indefinitely. Defenseman Andrew Ference (groin) is questionable and goalie Tuukka Rask (knee) remains doubtful. … The Maple Leafs will be without forward Fredrik Sjostrom (shoulder) while center Mikhail Grabovski (broken wrist) could make his return. Defensemen Mike Van Ryn (knee) and Mike Komisarek (shoulder) are out for the year.

Stat Pack --
Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf, acquired Jan. 31 from the Flames, leads all active NHL defenders in goals (75), power-play goals (48), game-winning goals (21) and shots (1,176) since entering the League in 2005-06.

Puck Drop --
"A guy like that has to be suspended. That's the way I see it, because it's an elbow to the head from the blind side. That's exactly the examples they show of what we've got to get out of this game. We have a guy who's got a concussion. Our best player. He's going to be out for a while. He was (unconscious) on the ice for a bit. That's unacceptable." -- Bruins coach Claude Julien following Cooke's hit on Savard.

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