‘We Need This Bad,’ Bernier on the Bruins Game Tonight

It's 'guess who' vs the Leafs tonight!

It’s ‘guess who’ vs the Leafs tonight!

Reimer iffy for tonight with flu symptoms

BY:JEFF SCHNEBERK
@Game7overtime

The numbers in the standings for the Toronto Maple Leafs tell an interesting story when it comes to their head-to-head meetings with the Boston Bruins.

The numbers show that Boston has a much better winning percentage than Toronto does, however Toronto’s leading scorer Phil Kessel has more goals than Boston’s top scorer and Boston’s top point getter (David Krejci).

Toronto has also operated more efficiently on the man advantage, scoring 32 PPG this season to Boston’s 24 PPGs. Most of the other numbers are very much the same.

Last 10: Toronto 4-4-2; Boston 6-4-0

This is the third of four games this season between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. The Bruins won each of the first two games by a combined score of 8-3.

Big story: The stakes obviously won’t be nearly as high as when Boston and Toronto met in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring, but despite each coming off wins, the Bruins and Maple Leafs need two points from this one. The Bruins went 1-2-0 on a brutal California road trip against the top three teams in the Pacific Division, and the Maple Leafs recently snapped a four-game losing streak that dropped them out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Maple Leafs: Toronto is coming off a shootout win against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night, the team’s first victory since outlasting the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic 11 days earlier, but the Maple Leafs’ struggles appear to run deeper than a four-game losing streak.

Toronto is currently fifth in the Atlantic Division and barely on the outside looking in at the East’s playoff positions, but the Maple Leafs’ place in the standings has been propped up by their ability to win shootouts. The team’s 8-4 mark after overtime is the best in the League, but as the postseason chase reaches its homestretch, Toronto may be doomed by a dearth of regulation and overtime wins if it doesn’t start racking them up soon. Toronto only matches one team currently in playoff position in the East, the Washington Capitals, in regulation and overtime wins, with 14. Over recent weeks, non-shootout wins have been in increasingly short supply for the Maple Leafs, who have two regulation wins in their past 26 games.

Even as the Leafs struggle to pick up wins in 60 or 65 minutes, they’re taking the points however they come at this point.
“We needed this bad,” goalie Jonathan Bernier said following Toronto’s win Sunday. “We found a way. If that’s what it takes to go into a shootout and get points and move on like this, it feels good for the confidence.”

To add a little more help at centre, Toronto recalled Peter Holland to skate tonight and sent Jerry D’Amigo back to the AHL Toronto Marlies.

WHO IS HOT?: Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has a goal and three assists in the past two games. … Bruins forward Carl Soderberg, who scored the game-winner against San Jose on Saturday, has a four-game point streak (one goal, three assists).

INJURY REPORT: Goalie James Reimer (flu-like symptoms) and defenseman Mark Fraser (flu-like symptoms) are questionable. They were among five Maple Leafs players who were sick over the weekend. Centers Trevor Smith(broken hand) and Dave Bolland (lacerated ankle) are on injured reserve. Bolland hopes to resume skating soon. … Bruins forward Jordan Caron (back injury) is questionable, and Kelly (broken leg) remains on IR. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton (undisclosed) sat out practice Monday.

@Game7overtime

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