W2W4: Bruins-Maple Leafs

December, 8, 2013
12/08/13
11:28
AM ET
The Boston Bruins (19-8-2, 40 points) will face the Toronto Maple Leafs (16-11-3, 35 points) Sunday night at Air Canada Centre (7 ET). Here’s what to watch for:


FAMILIAR FOE: The Bruins and Maple Leafs face off for the second of four meetings this season. Boston won the first game 3-1 on Nov. 9 at TD Garden. The Bruins are 6-5-0 on the road this season, while the Maple Leafs own a 10-5-0 record at ACC. Boston is 4-1-0 in its last five regular-season games and 10-1-1 in the last 12 against Toronto. These teams staged an epic first-round series last season in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Bruins won the series in seven games. Tonight will be the Maple Leafs’ first Sunday home game since Feb. 23, 2003.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY: The Bruins are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and 11-3-2 in the last 16. Boston pulled off a dramatic 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at TD Garden. The Bruins’ Zdeno Chara scored with 13 seconds remaining in regulation en route to victory. Toronto is 3-3-2 in its last eight games. The Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk scored a regulation goal, added two assists and netted the deciding goal in the shootout to help Toronto to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

MASKED MEN: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 28 saves in Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Penguins to improve his record to 15-7-2 with a 1.91 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. He’s 5-2-1 in his last eight starts and 9-3-2 in his last 14. If Bruins coach Claude Julien decides to start Rask against the Maple Leafs, it will be the third time this season he’s played back-to-back games. Rask is 9-1-0 against the Maple Leafs with a 1.42 GAA and a .951 SP in 12 career games. If Chad Johnson gets the start for the Bruins, he’s 4-1-0 with a 1.97 GAA and a .918 SP in five starts this season. He’s won his last three starts. Since the Maple Leafs’ James Reimer played Saturday night (47 saves on 50 shots) against the Senators, Toronto will start Jonathan Bernier against the Bruins. Bernier is 9-7-2 with one shutout in 19 games this season. He has a 2.40 GAA and a .931 SP. He’s 0-1-0 against the Bruins in his career.

KEY INJURIES: Bruins forwards Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Chris Kelly (broken ankle) were both injured Saturday night and did not travel with the team to Toronto. Also, the Bruins have been without defensemen Adam McQuaid (lower body) and Johnny Boychuk (back), but both went on the trip. McQuaid is considered day-to-day. Boychuk, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher last Thursday in Montreal after what now has been diagnosed as a back spasm, was seen Saturday night on press level limping and slightly hunched over.

REINFORCEMENTS: Because of the barrage of injuries, the Bruins recalled forwards Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner from Providence of the AHL and both will be available to play against the Maple Leafs. Fraser, who arrived in Boston as part of the Tyler Seguin trade last July, recorded a hat trick for the P-Bruins on Friday night against Manchester and added another goal on Saturday at Worcester. He has 13 games of NHL experience with the Dallas Stars. Spooner was called up earlier this season and played two games and posted one assist.

SUSPENDED: The Bruins’ Shawn Thornton received a match penalty and is suspended until his disciplinary hearing with the league for his actions against the Penguins’ Brooks Orpik on Saturday night. Thornton will likely receive a lengthy suspension and did not travel with the team to Toronto.

CARON’S BACK: Bruins forward Jordan Caron has been limited to 11 games this season as a healthy scratch. Due to Thornton’s suspension, it’s likely Caron will return to the lineup against the Maple Leafs. If he does play, it will be his 100th NHL game. He has one goal this season and his last game was Nov. 27 at Detroit.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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