Maple Leafs-Bruins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 13, 2014
Tuukka Rask bounced back with a strong performance in net to help end a brief slump for the Boston Bruins. They'll now look to continue their recent dominance of the Toronto Maple Leafs while getting their offense back on track. Boston will try for a 12th win in 13 meetings Tuesday night when it hosts Toronto. The Bruins (29-14-2) had lost four of six, allowing four or more goals in each defeat. Rask surrendered five goals on only 20 shots in a 5-2 loss last Tuesday at Anaheim, then was pulled after surrendering three scores in less than 22 minutes of Thursday's 4-2 defeat at Los Angeles. He stopped 26 shots for his league-leading fifth shutout and third in 10 games in a 1-0 victory at San Jose on Saturday. "That was Bruins hockey," Rask said. "That's how we get points in this league. Sometimes we slip from it but today was a great example of how we need to play in order to get points. I'm really happy with the effort." Boston's 98 goals allowed are the second fewest in the NHL. Carl Soderberg scored in the third period to help hand San Jose its second home regulation loss, and Loui Eriksson earned an assist as he returned from a concussion that kept him out since Dec. 7. "It's nice to be back playing again and to be around all of the guys playing," said Eriksson, who recorded five goals and nine assists in 24 contests before the injury. "It's definitely nice to get the two points, too, so it was a good first time." Eriksson's return could help jumpstart the Bruins' attack, as Boston has managed five goals in the past three games. The Bruins, 14-1-1 in their last 16 at home, also hope playing against Toronto can reignite their power play. The Bruins are scoreless in 13 chances with the man advantage over their last five games, but 10 for 31 while taking 11 of 12 from the Maple Leafs. Boston has outscored Toronto 53-20 during that stretch while limiting the Leafs to four power-play goals on 39 chances. The Bruins have won both meetings this season, scoring four times on six power-play opportunities. The Leafs (22-20-5) ended a season-high four-game slide with a 3-2 shootout home win over New Jersey on Sunday, but they have only two regulation victories in their last 26 games. They've also lost 12 of 14 on the road. Jonathan Bernier stopped 36 shots and all three of the Devils' shootout tries. James van Riemsdyk scored in the tiebreaker after recording a goal in the second period for his second in as many games. "Well, we can breathe," coach Randy Carlyle said. "There's been a lot of gasping going on, and even in this game there was a lot of gasping going on (with) how tight it was. ... Hopefully this relieves a little bit of the stress that's involved for our hockey club." Van Riemsdyk is without a point in his last eight games against Boston, while top scorer Phil Kessel doesn't have one over his last seven matchups with his former team. Rask is 9-1-0 with a 1.38 goals-against average in 10 career starts against Toronto. Milan Lucic has 16 points for Boston during its 11-1-0 stretch in the series while David Krejci has 15.
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