March 19, 2011
Leafs welcome rival Bruins
By SPORTS NETWORK
The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to get their postseason push back on track when they host the rival Boston Bruins tonight at Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs are tied with Atlanta for 10th place in the East and Ron Wilson's club is four points behind Buffalo and Carolina for the conference's eighth and final playoff spot. The Thrashers and Sabres are playing each other tonight in Buffalo, while Carolina is idle.
However, Toronto, which last qualified for the postseason in 2004, has not helped its playoff chances all that much lately, losing two of three and five of its last seven games (2-4-1).
After claiming a regulation win Wednesday at Carolina, the Maple Leafs were shut out the following night in Florida. The Panthers used a three-goal second period and 24 saves from Scott Clemmensen to down Toronto, 4-0, at BankAtlantic Center.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, making his first start since February 16, stopped 22 shots for Toronto. Rookie goaltender James Reimer had started the previous 13 games for the Maple Leafs, going 6-3-3 over that span, and he is expected back between the pipes tonight.
Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek is questionable for tonight's contest after missing the last game with a lower-body injury.
Toronto, which is 16-14-7 as the host this year, is home for just one game before beginning a three-game road trip Tuesday in Minnesota.
While Toronto is fighting for its playoff lives, the Bruins will try to extend their lead atop the Northeast Division tonight. With 88 points, Boston is leading idle Montreal by three for first place in the division.
The Bruins have lost five of their last six games, but they have dropped just two regulation decisions over that 1-2-3 span. Boston was dealt a loss Thursday evening in Nashville, as Shea Weber's power-play tally with 1:23 left in overtime sent the Predators to the 4-3 victory at Bridgestone Arena.
Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci tallied for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask made 27 stops in defeat.
"Tough loss," said Rask. "Got the lead, stuff happened and we lost the game."
Tim Thomas is expected to get the start in net tonight for Boston and he is 1-1-1 with a 1.95 goal-against average against the Leafs this season.
The Bruins and Maple Leafs have split four meetings so far this year, but Boston has taken four of seven overall in the series. The B's have also claimed victory in two of three and six of their last nine trips to Toronto.
Boston, which is completing a four-game road trip tonight, has lost three of its last four away from Beantown, but is still 23-9-5 as the guest this season.
Bruins forward Brad Marchand is serving the second portion of a two-game suspension tonight. Marchand received the ban for elbowing Columbus forward R.J. Umberger in the head on Tuesday.