Bruins-Maple Leafs Preview
While they escaped with a win in their last game, the Boston Bruins have struggled to string goals together on their road trip.
The Bruins haven't had that problem very often when facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been one of the NHL's worst defensive teams this month.
Boston will try for its ninth straight victory over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night when the Northeast Division clubs open a home-and-home set.
After back-to-back losses to open this four-game trip, the Bruins managed to get back into the win column on Thursday when Dennis Seidenberg provided the go-ahead score with 1:04 left in a 2-1 victory at Ottawa.
Backup goalie Anton Khudobin filled in nicely with 27 saves as the Bruins (20-6-3) remained within striking distance of Pittsburgh and Montreal, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
"I think every game we have to give a strong third period, we showed that we can play that way. That's what is most important, I think," coach Claude Julien told the team's official website.
Boston totaled eight goals in a pair of home wins prior to the trip, but only has four over its last three games and hasn't been able to convert any of its eight power-play chances.
That could change Saturday when the Bruins go up against a Toronto team that ranks last in the NHL with 3.56 goals allowed per game this month. Boston has outscored the Maple Leafs 41-12 during its eight-game winning streak in this series.
The Maple Leafs (16-12-3) have allowed at least four scores in eight of their last 11 contests and fell to 1-3-3 in their last seven with a 5-4 shootout loss at Buffalo on Thursday.
James Reimer surrendered four goals for the fifth time in seven starts since returning from a knee injury.
"When you score four, you should win. But at least we got a point, which is important,'' Reimer said.
Reimer has a 4.10 goals-against average in three straight losses against the Bruins, though he made 33 saves in a 1-0 home defeat Feb. 2.
Ben Scrivens, the other half of Toronto's goalie tandem, hasn't fared much better. He has an 0-2-0 record and a 5.11 GAA in this series following a 4-2 loss at Boston on March 7.
Nazem Kadri led the Maple Leafs with two goals and an assist on Thursday, giving him six assists over his last three games. Former Bruin Phil Kessel extended his point streak to six games (4 goals, 6 assists) with two assists against the Sabres.
The Maple Leafs have 12 goals in their last three games, but may have a difficult time continuing that pace on Saturday. Tuukka Rask, who is expected to be back in net for this contest, has a 7-1-0 record with a 1.37 GAA in eight career starts against the team that drafted him.
Tyler Seguin had two goals and an assist in the last meeting and has nine and five, respectively, during the winning streak against the Leafs.
David Krejci, who added an insurance goal in the win earlier this month, has five goals and eight assists in his last nine in the series.
The Bruins, who will host the Maple Leafs on Monday, have won four straight in Toronto.