Home ice key so far in Maple Leafs-Bruins series
The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to even their season series with the Boston Bruins on Saturday night at the Scotiabank Arena.
So far, the home team has prevailed in the season series between the Original Six rivals. The Bruins have won twice in Boston, 5-1 and 6-3, and the Maple Leafs have a 4-2 home victory.
The Maple Leafs (28-13-2) are coming off a 4-2 road victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night in which John Tavares scored twice to give him 301 career NHL goals. He also had an assist.
"It's always that much more satisfying when it contributes in a big win, especially bouncing back after the other night," said Tavares, referring to a 4-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday. "I think it's a credit to a lot of guys who I've played with over my career."
Meanwhile, the Bruins (25-15-4) lost to the Washington Capitals for the 14th straight time Thursday, 4-2 in Boston.
"We controlled the play the whole way through," Bruins left winger Brad Marchand said. "Really, the only looks they had were their goals and a couple late when we were forcing. ... We play like that every night, we're going to win a lot of games."
The Maple Leafs have started goaltender Michael Hutchinson, obtained in a Dec. 29 trade with the Florida Panthers, in four straight games because of injuries to No. 1 Frederik Andersen (groin) and to backup Garret Sparks (concussion).
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said a decision has not been reached on a starting goalie for Saturday. He was awaiting input from the medical staff on Andersen, who had said he had Saturday in mind for a possible return, while Babcock was pointing more toward Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Bruins figure to go with Tuukka Rask in goal after Jaroslav Halak played Thursday.
"I didn't make a save," said Halak, who made 18 stops. "That's the bottom line. I got outplayed by their goalie (Braden Holtby). The next game I get a chance, hopefully down the road, I can help the guys."
The Bruins could have defenseman Charlie McAvoy (foot infection) back in the lineup. He has missed 26 games this season. If he does return, the Bruins might have to sit somebody to make room for him.
"I don't want to get ahead of myself because of the way things have gone this year," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "I would just be very honest with whoever that player is. ... It'll be a bit of a longer conversation because it's guys that have been in the lineup a little more frequently."
The Maple Leafs had Zach Hyman back in the lineup Thursday after he was out with a sprained ankle. Hyman picked up an assist and impressed Babcock with his play.
"Plus-four, he was involved in three goals there, heavy down low," Babcock said. "It goes to show you need people to win the puck back, and he was able to do that for us."
The Maple Leafs have a few players in scoring droughts.
Auston Matthews has one goal in his past eight games. William Nylander has one goal in 15 games after returning from a contract holdout. Nazem Kadri has gone eight games without a goal. Patrick Marleau is goal-less in seven games, and Kasperi Kapanen has not scored in six games.
The Maple Leafs' power play is 0-for-10 in the past five games.
Boston right winger David Pastrnak has five goals against Toronto this season.
There has been a scoring change made for the Maple Leafs from the game Thursday. Ron Hainsey had been given credit for Toronto's first goal, but now Connor Brown has been given the goal, with Hainsey given an assist. Hainsey also has been given the second assist on Mitch Marner's empty-net goal Thursday. Originally, Tavares had the only assist.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 11, 2019