A study in contrasts

TERRY KOSHAN AND ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Maple Leafs netminder Vesa Toskala and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas are a study in contrasts in the early stages of 2008-09.

The Leafs have a winning record, but not because Toskala, who said he "feels good," has been stellar. He's on the Eastern Conference all-star ballot even though he sports a 3.00 goals-against average and a .887 save percentage. Those aren't good numbers.

"He has been up and down," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "He has to be a little more consistent, but we have to do a better job in front of him too. We are in shooting lanes but we are screening and not trying to block the shot. Once you are committed to being in a shooting lane, your job at that point is to not let the puck go by you."

Thomas, on the other hand, has a 1.83 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage.

But Thomas, who played in last year's all-star game as an injury replacement, was left off this year's ballot despite his hot start, which included two shutouts last week.

"I can only control what I can control," Thomas said. "I just have to keep doing what I've been doing to help this team. I think I have been underrated quite a few times in my career. Sure it fuels the fire."

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

"Not that I know of."

-- Wilson, when asked if Jason Blake would be a healthy scratch tonight. The same lineup that lost to Carolina on Tuesday should be intact, which means defencemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Jonas Frogren, and forward Ryan Hollweg, would sit.

Faceoff

Tonight, 7 p.m., at TD Banknorth Garden. (Sportsnet).

Injuries: RW Chuck Kobasew (leg) and D Mark Stuart (flu) are game-time decisions.

Who's hot: Marc Savard leads the team with five goals and 10 assists and has counted at least a point in each of the past five games ... Phil Kessel leads the team with seven goals.

The Skinny: Bruins are coming off a fight-fest with Dallas which resulted in a combined 146 penalty minutes (Boston 77, Dallas 69) the most PIM in a game by the Bruins since Feb. 28, 2002 .... Thomas' back-to-back shutouts last week was the first by a Bruins goalie since Byron Dafoe in April 1999.


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