Bruins look for a way to beat Maple Leafs’ Andersen
BOSTON — Frederik Andersen has a more than respectable 164-70-31 career regular-season record in the NHL.
Andersen, who did lose a seven-game playoff series to the Bruins last season, has a 2.08 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in the regular season against Boston. That might not be a great omen for the current Bruins, who are having all kinds of trouble scoring goals.
The injury-ravaged Bruins have lost three straight games, all in regulation — the first time that has happened since March 2017. They have scored four goals in the three games, a stretch that includes the fifth shutout this season.
They are 4-4-2 in their last 10 and haven’t scored more than three goals in any of those games, limited to just 16 goals.
They were dreadful in a 5-0 loss at Florida on Tuesday but played better in a 3-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
“You have to be very good to beat these guys,” coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “We weren’t quite there yet but much better than the previous night.”
The same night, the Maple Leafs, with Michael Nylander making his season debut after signing his new six-year contract, rallied for three goals to force overtime before their five-game winning streak ended in overtime at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.
“They were just better than us,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said after his team fell to 20-8-1. “The greatest thing about the game, I say this all the time, it’s so honest. They played harder, they were better and I thought we did a real good job to get ourselves a point, but they were the team that deserved the two. It was great that we got one. We didn’t have enough hands on deck.”
On Nov. 26, the Leafs defeated the Bruins in Toronto behind Andersen, who made 38 saves in his latest victory over the Bruins. The goaltender comes in 16-7-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .931 save percentage this season.
Halak is 9-4-4 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .913 save percentage lifetime against the Leafs.
Nylander logged 12:29 on 18 shifts in his debut, failing to put anything on the board.
“I thought Willy was fine,” Babcock said. “It was probably unfair for me — we had the bus (breakdown in Buffalo) thing that happened, we were supposed to practice together, we never even gave the guy a practice. We wanted to get him in.”
The Bruins have Charlie McAvoy back on a defense that has been without as many as six players at one time and is still trying to survive without captain Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller. Up front, Boston is without Patrice Bergeron, who leads this team in all phases of the game.
They scored early and late Thursday night, but the Lightning scored their three in between and hung on for the win.
“Tonight is a little more disappointing (than frustrating), to be honest with you,” Cassidy said. “We were right there.”
David Krejci broke an 18-game goal-scoring drought with his 590th career point Thursday. That tied him with team president Cam Neely for 10th place on the club’s career scoring list — with Neely at the game.
The Bruins (14-10-4) visit Ottawa on Sunday and return home to play the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Boston claimed Gemel Smith off waivers from the Dallas Stars on Thursday.