Bruins-Maple Leafs Preview
For a slumping Boston Bruins team trying to avoid its first
three-game skid since October, Tuesday night’s MVP may be the
That’s because the Bruins will get to visit the Toronto Maple
Leafs, whom they’ve defeated in all four meetings this season in
Boston (38-23-3) has dropped two straight and three of four
after Sunday’s 4-3 road loss to the New York Rangers, who expanded
their lead to 12 points over the second-seeded Bruins atop the
“We played a pretty good game,” said Bruins goalie Tim Thomas,
who took his second loss in as many days with Tuukka Rask sidelined
by injury. “Right now, what can go wrong, will. It’s one of those
Thomas will likely be seeing the lion’s share of the time in net
for the rest of the season after the Bruins announced Monday that
Rask, who left Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, will
miss four to six weeks with a lower abdomen/groin strain.
Boston recalled Michael Hutchinson from Providence of the AHL to
serve as Thomas’ backup and signed Marty Turco to a one-year deal
Monday. If Turco clears waivers, he will join the Bruins on
David Krejci, Jordan Caron and Benoit Pouliot scored Sunday for
Boston, which outshot the Rangers 33-17 – a performance that had
left wing Milan Lucic looking on the bright side.
“Other than the result, we have a lot to be happy about,” said
Lucic, who has one goal and three assists during a three-game point
streak. “We played a real good game after we called that timeout.
We had everyone going. It was the best effort that we’ve had in a
long time. We need to keep our heads high and remember the things
here that gave the scoring chances and the momentum.”
Lucic has plenty of reason to be upbeat about another matchup
with the Maple Leafs (30-28-7). He has five goals and five assists
in this season’s four meetings, helping the Bruins win all four by
a combined margin of 23-6. Lucic has scored a pair of goals in each
of Boston’s two visits to Air Canada Centre.
This is the first meeting between these Original Six rivals
since a 4-1 home win for the Bruins on Dec. 3, but the Leafs are
playing worse now than they were then. Toronto has gone 2-9-1 over
its last 12 contests while allowing nearly four goals per game, and
has dropped five straight at home since a 6-3 victory over Edmonton
exactly one month ago.
The slump claimed the job of coach Ron Wilson, whom the Maple
Leafs fired Friday and replaced with former Toronto defenseman and
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle.
The move looked good in Carlyle’s debut Saturday, as the Leafs
snapped a season-high six-game skid by winning 3-1 at Montreal.
Mikhail Grabovski scored twice in the third period to break open
a tie game and assisted on a goal by Matt Frattin to make the new
coach a winner. Toronto generally dominated the play, outshooting
the Canadiens 42-22.
“It’s obviously a nice way to start,” Carlyle said. “I thought
our team put out an effort. It’s impressive when you can go into
the other team’s building and hold them to under 25 shots and score
two big goals in the third to eke out a win. I asked them to skate
and not worry about anything but what our focus was, which was to
win the game. We stayed with our game plan.”
Toronto leading scorer Phil Kessel, who spent his first three
seasons in Boston from 2006-2009, has just one assist in the season
series against his former club.
The Bruins haven’t dropped three in a row since Oct. 22-29,
their longest skid of the season.