Leafs sweep Bruins to gain ground in playoff race

21 March, 2017, 05:11 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Montreal's Brendan Gallagher middle celebrates his third-period goal on a bad-angle shot that got through Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson

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.

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.

The Bruins head into the Air Canada Centre for a pivotal show down between Atlantic division foes on Monday night in a game that carries significant weight in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference as Boston now holds the final automatic berth in the Atlantic division with 82 points, and are three up on the Leafs who are in the final wild card spot with 79 and a game in hand. With 9:26 to go in the period, Toronto defenseman Matt Hunwick ripped a one-timer blast from the slot that seemed destined for the back of the net.

"You have to realize that every night, every team, every game, you have to show up and be good", Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said. Though Rask made some nice saves after Leaf pressure, no Bruin picked up Morgan Rielly lurking in from the blue line.

Another day, another big game for the Maple Leafs.

The hottest players on both teams, with Marchand battling for the National Hockey League scoring lead and Andersen the backbone of the Leafs achieving points in nine of the past 12 games he has been in.

The most interesting section of Toronto's remaining schedule is a four-game home stand to close out the season, which would normally work to a team's advantage.

The Leafs do have one defenceman who has a hot hand and he kept it going in this game.

It was the sixth marker of the year for Rielly and third in the last five games. "We needed that one". Beleskey is just another player on what's become a revolving door of linemates to Krejci's left in the last few weeks alone, between Peter Cehlarik, Drew Stafford, Frank Vatrano, and now No. 39. They have five games against teams outside the playoffs including two against the Detroit Red Wings and one against the Arizona Coyotes.

Heading into the game, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said he was optimistic because of how the Leafs handled themselves in Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a game without many scoring chances. 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. I don't think anyone is going to make excuses for me, or any athlete that's out for a while.

Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, Jake Gardiner, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov were among those with heads lowered at TD Garden on May 13, 2013, a 4-1 late lead that became a 5-4 OT loss.

Backes opened scoring at 7:26 in the opening period, benefiting off of a great individual effort from Brad Marchand - the reigning NHL First Star of the Week.

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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