Playing in their first game of the New Year, and last before the end of the 1st half for the club, the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Center tonight (7:00PM ET, TSN), this being the 6th meeting between the 2 clubs.
The Leafs missed a chance to sneak into the last playoff spot in the East on Saturday night with a loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Toronto was without Wingers Darcy Tucker (Bruised Foot), Alexei Ponikarovsky (Elbow), and Centermen Kyle Wellwood (Hip-Flexor/Groin), and Michael Peca (Broken leg), while Ottawa was without Centermen Jason Spezza (Knee) and Mike Fisher (Knee).
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However, the game turned out to be one of many opportunities for both sides to win, but the play of Andrew Raycroft (Stopping 31 of 34), and even better play by Ray Emery (Stopping 43 of 45) kept the score close at 2-1, before a collapse in the defencive zone helped Chris Kelly to give The Senators the tie with a little over 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd.
The Senators then won the game in Overtime with another odd-man rush given away by the Leafs, the goal being scored by Chris Philips.Chris Kelly said:"It was a great pass. I was surprised to be that open, especially late in the game. There's usually three guys on you."
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Alexander Steen opened the scoring for Toronto, and Boyd Devereaux, called up from the minors to fill the holes in the Leafs' line-up, scores his first goal as a Leaf.
Toronto is 17-18-5 after 40 games, and are currently positioned at 10th in the Eastern Conference with 40 Points, and last in the Northeast Division.
Darcy Tucker, leading the team in goals with 19, is likely to play tonight. Mats Sundin leads the team in Points with 35 in 33 games (16G, 19A).
Andrew Raycroft is 15-12-4 after 31 games, and has a 3.09 Goals Against Average and .893 Save Percentage.
Toronto went 4-10 in December.
Boston, coming off of a 5-0 loss to the Nashville Predators, are currently ahead of the Leafs by 1 point in the standings for the last spot in the Eastern Conference with 41
As of late, the team is finally seeming to come together, having a 19-14-3 record in 36 games, and reording pointsi n5 of their last 6 games (4-1-1).
Marc Savard leads the offencive charge with 15 points in his last 9 games, and he also leads the team with 47 Points in 36 (12G, 35A). Savard's 35 Assists place him 3rd in the league (behind Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby)
Glen Murray leads the team in goals, with 19 in 36 games, and Patrice Bergeron has also been hot as of late (14 Points in last 8).
In net, Tim Thomas has been at his best, going 4-0-1 in his last 5 games, and having a 2.38 Goals Against Average and .933 Save percentage in that span. In the process, the player of the week from 2 weeks ago has now dropped his high Goals Against Average down to 2.99, and now posts a .908 Save Percentage. Thomas is 17-8-3 through 30 games.
Toronto is 1-3-1 against the Bruins this year, with Tim Thomas allowing 2 goals or less in all of them.