GDT: Leafs at Bruins (7 p.m., Sportsnet)
Tonight, the Leafs are guests in the TD Garden. The Boston Bruins have been a dominant force against our team this season and are threatening to sweep the season series.Â That doesnâ€™t exactly tell the whole story either. Boston has scored at least four goals in all five games against Toronto, and outscored the Leafs by a combined 28-10 margin in that period.
To top it off, the Bruins will be looking to take a stronger claim to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference as Ottawa is giving them a run for their money in recent weeks. While this all might sound depressing, we have to remember that the Leafs are coming into this one with two straight victories in which the team gave up only two goals…. which can also be depressing if youâ€™re hoping for that lottery draft pick.
Having burned all the call ups the only way for the Leafs to tank would be to either actually lose or to let other teams beat us. The second part likely wonâ€™t happen, but if we beat the Bruins today Iâ€™ll seriously question the mental state of this team. No, not because of the increasingly lower draft choice, but because we would then beat a desperate team that has had our number all year long, at a time when it really wouldnâ€™t mean much for this team. What would that say about our teamâ€™s mentality? Iâ€™m actually afraid of a win tonight because I donâ€™t want to answer that question. Itâ€™s much easier to say â€œWeâ€™re simply not good enough yetâ€ rather than â€œI donâ€™t know what is wrong with this team’s mental makeup.â€
The Maple Leafs are without second-leading scorer Joffrey Lupul because of a shoulder injury. Nikolai Kulemin is out for the season and Mike Brown is also out of the lineup for tonightâ€™s game. Top-line forward Nathan Horton (concussion) is out for Boston, and the team’s depth has been tested with versatile forward Rich Peverley (knee) and backup goaltender Tuukka Rask (abdomen) possibly out until the playoffs. Rookie Max Sauve is out with a hip injury.
GUYS Â TO WATCH:
Milan Lucic is one of only two guys in the NHL to this point this season (along with Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell) who has more than 50 points and 100 penalty minutes. There have been only five players reach those two totals in each of the past four seasons.
Lucic has racked up 11 points in 5 appearances against the Leafs this season while Tyler Seguin and David Krejci each have posted nine points against Toronto.