Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Bruins, Maple Leafs meet in battle of playoff contenders

Bruins, Maple Leafs meet in battle of playoff contenders

The Toronto Maple Leafs look to maintain their grip on the final wild card in the Eastern Conference as they host the Boston Bruins on Monday night.

Rask appeared to keep the game knotted at 1-1 off a kick save, but the Maple Leafs capitalized on the man advantage seconds later, with Tyler Bozak firing one home at 18:03 for the game-winning strike.

The Leafs are in position to sweep the season series against Boston for the first time since the clubs were realigned in the same division in 1998. Monday's contest will be another major showdown with Toronto sitting just three points behind the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic with one game in hand.

"I thought we were, as good as we played at times, I thought we were very respectful of them and I'd like to see us go after them a little bit more".

The Leafs gained steam as the period went on. The intensity was cranked up and the checking grew even closer. Frederik Andersen was sharp with 32 saves, James van Riemsdyk added two assists.

"Every day you talk about how big the game is, but that's what we're going to do right until the end, obviously", Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "Our goal is to go into Toronto and play well". One of those great moments of offensive hockey preceded the goal as the Leafs swirled around the Boston zone.

A chippy game between two division foes turned ugly at 12:44 in the opening frame, as Toronto forward Nikita Soshnikov drilled Patrice Bergeron into the boards while the Bruins center had his head down. While Victor Hedman has tallied 11 points and rookie Brayden Point has contributed seven of his own, other players have struggled, particularly in the goal-scoring department. They have five games against teams outside the playoffs including two against the Detroit Red Wings and one against the Arizona Coyotes.

After staying out of the box throughout Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to Chicago, it was Toronto's turn to circle the wagons in the middle period. We continue to watch the Kings with hopes that they'll get into the playoffs so the Lightning will get an additional draft pick out of the Ben Bishop trade.

This week for the Leafs is as big as it gets, as we know there is only twelve games left in the season and four of them will be this week. I don't think anyone is going to make excuses for me, or any athlete that's out for a while.

Torey Krug had all kinds of room to move in after getting free of the Leaf defence and fired it high and wide, leading to Toronto pressure and its first goal during 4-on-4 play.

If playing against the Blackhawks was a way of measuring themselves, the Maple Leafs feel they did well.

However, the Bergeron line did produce the Bruins' first goal with Kadri's line on the bench and the Leafs on the ice snoozing defensively.

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