It’s a battle of Atlantic Division teams on the ice north of the border. The Boston Bruins are on the road as they travel to race the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night. Boston comes in off a 5-4 shootout loss to Florida at home Tuesday in their last game. Toronto fell 5-4 on the road to the Islanders Wednesday night in their last contest. The teams split the first two meetings this season with Toronto taking a 4-3 overtime win at home on October 19. In the last meeting, Boston took a 4-2 win at home on October 22.
Boston Bruins Look to Get Back in Win ColumnBoston dropped their fourth straight game as things completely unraveled in the third period before falling in a shootout to Florida. The Bruins entered Thursday holding a three-point lead over Montreal and Florida in the Atlantic Division race. Boston is tied for 4th in goals for as they average 3.56 goals per game this season. The Bruins are fourth in the league by allowing 2.50 goals per contest on the year. Boston is first in power play percentage as they convert 30.5 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Bruins are tied for 12th in the league in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 82.1 percent of their shorthanded situations this season.
The Bruins held a big lead only to see it slip away late before falling in the shootout to Florida. Boston owned a 7-5 edge in shots on goal in the opening period but skated off with the game still scoreless after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the Bruins own a 16-7 edge in shots and a 4-0 edge on the scoreboard to hold that lead after two periods. David Pastrnak opened the scoring with his 16th of the year at 11:55 on an assist from Patrice Bergeron. Joakim Nordstrom made it a 2-0 game with his second of the year at 14:02 off an assist from Charlie Coyle. Anders Bjork gave Boston a 3-0 lead with his third of the year, on the power play, off assists from David Krejci and Brad Marchand at 17:16 of the stanza. Zdeno Chara’s third of the year at 19:31 off assists from Krejci and Danton Heinen extended the lead to 4-0. In the third period, the Bruins were outshot 12-9 and outscored 4-0 to end up in overtime. During the extra session, Boston owned a 6-5 edge in shots but neither side lit the lamp. In the shootout, Boston was outscored 2-1 to take the defeat. Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in the loss for Boston, who held a 38-29 edge in shots on goal in the game. He is expected to get the start in goal here.
Toronto Maple Leafs Seeking to Get Back on TrackToronto dropped their third straight game as they were unable to get a win on Long Island against the white-hot Islanders. The Maple Leafs entered Thursday fourth in the Atlantic Division, one point behind Montreal and Florida for second place and four back of Boston for the division lead. Toronto is 9th in the league in scoring as they average 3.35 goals per game on the season. The Maple Leafs are tied for 21st in goals against as they allow 3.25 goals per contest. Toronto is 20th in the league on the power play as they convert 17.6 percent of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Maple Leafs are 24th in penalty killing as they successfully shut down 75.3 percent of their shorthanded situations on the year: they have two shorthanded goals.
The Maple Leafs struggled in their own zone again and it proved costly against an Islanders team that has won 12 of their previous 13 games. Toronto was outshot 9-5 in the opening period and trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the Maple Leafs own a 13-6 edge in shots on goal and they outscored New York 2-1 to trail 3-2 after two periods. Kasperi Kapanen got Toronto on the board with his fifth of the year at the 43 second mark off assists from John Tavares and Travis Dermott. William Nylander knotted the game with his eighth of the year off assists from Andreas Johnsson and Jake Muzzin at 11:22 of the period. The Maple Leafs gave up the go-ahead goal later in the period. Toronto was outshot 15-9 in the third period where both teams scored two goals, leaving them a goal short at the final horn. After giving up a pair of goals to trail 5-2, Justin Holl got his first of the year off assists from Frederik Gauthier and Nick Shore at 18:13 to make it a two-goal game. Tavares got his sixth of the year at 19:22 off assists from Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews to get Toronto within a goal but the equalizer remained out of reach. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves in the loss for the Maple Leafs, who were outshot 30-27 in the game.
The top trends for this contest, according to Covers.com:
- Bruins are 1-2-2 in their last five games overall
- Maple Leafs are 9-4 in their last 13 at home vs. Boston