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.