Preview: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs


March 6, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand (63) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski (84) battle for position behind the net at the Air Canada Centre. Boston defeated Toronto 5-4. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins suffered their first regulation loss of the season against the Buffalo Sabres 7-4 and will look to bounce back from that defeat tonight in Toronto. The Toronto Maple Leafs come into this game with eight points, only three points behind the Bruins and Senators for first place in the Northeast division.

The Bruins certainly had a rough game against the Sabres on Thursday. Buffalo came out and played very physical the whole game and broke the Bruins down. The Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Shawn Thornton would be out for 7-10 days with a concussion that he sustained in Thursday’s game when he fought John Scott. Along with Thornton, Patrice Bergeron, Danielle Paille, and David Krejci also did not practice on Friday. It looks like Paille will not make the trip to Toronto but Bergeron and Krejci should be ready to play. The Bruins have called up youngster Jamie Tardiff from Providence, and with Thornton and Paille out, all signs are pointing to him being in the lineup. This will be Tardiff’s NHL debut.

Last season the Bruins absolutely dominated the Maple Leafs. The Bruins were a perfect 6-0 last year against the Leafs outscoring them 36 to 10. Two of those wins came in blowout fashion being 8-0 and 7-0. The Bruins simply lit up the Maple Leafs last year putting up enormous offensive numbers on the scoreboard.

The Maple Leafs are coming off a 3-2 win against the Capitals and have won two games in a row. The acquisition of James van Riemsdyk from Philadelphia has been a very nice addition for the Leafs so far, he has four goals in seven games and has started out the season just as the Leafs have hoped. Ex Bruin, Phil Kessel has yet to score this season, which is not a good sign for the Leafs through the first seven games. Last season, Kessel led the Leafs in scoring with 37 goals, and having not scored this year, has to be a small concern for Toronto.

I think even though the Bruins are a little banged up, I do think they will bounce back with a win against Toronto. Even with Paille and Thornton out, the Bruins are a much deeper team on paper then Toronto is. As long as the Bruins fix the defensive problems they had Thursday night, come out with a high level of energy, and finish their chances, they should come out and beat the Maple Leafs Saturday night.