Leafs, Bruins share a connection

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

The Boston Bruins and Maple Leafs have run a kind of underground goalie network the past 45 years.

Some of the best in the business have been the property of both; Don Simmons, Jacques Plante, Gerry Cheevers, Terry Sawchuk, Bernie Parent, Ed Johnston, Bruce Gamble, Felix Potvin, Vince Riendeau and Andrew Raycroft.

There is a chance Tuukka Rask will join that group some time during this season's eight-game series, perhaps tonight at the Air Canada Centre when the B's visit.

Rask, the Leafs' No. 1 pick in 2005 who was traded to the Bruins for Raycroft last year, was recalled yesterday.

"I can't disclose if he'll play," Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said yesterday.

The betting is that Tim Thomas will get at least one more start as he tries to improve on the NHL's second-best save percentage (.941) in his 11th straight start. Rask, who has been up from the farm a couple of times with Manny Fernandez hurt, could then make his NHL debut during a home-and-home against the New York Islanders later this week.

Thomas was brilliant against the Leafs last Thursday with 34 saves in a 5-2 win. The Leafs will be unwilling to replace their own Finn, Vesa Toskala, with Raycroft after the former's 3-0 shutout of Ottawa on Saturday.

KEEPING PACE

Chiarelli is getting a lot of razzing at home about when the Bruins will catch up to Beantown's other red-hot teams. In the past month, the Red Sox won the World Series, the Patriots went 10-0, the new-look Celtics are 8-1 and the Revolution made the MLS Cup final.

"I've heard this question since the summer when the Celtics made their power trade," Chiarelli said. "Boston College has been near the top of the football rankings, too.

"It's a pride thing to want to keep up to all of them, but it's difficult when comparing us right now to a world champion ball team.

"We joked at today's meeting for next year's schedule that we'll stay away from a home game on Bowl Day next January because BC and Northeastern will probably be in it."


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