The Toronto Maple Leafs can only hope the turn of the calendar will see the Boston Bruins’ air of invincibility disappear. The Bruins look to extend their points streak to 14 games as they host the Maple Leafs in a Northeast Division showdown Saturday night. Entering the month of November last in the Eastern Conference, defending champion Boston outclassed its opposition en route to a 12-0-1 showing in the month. It’s the first time a team has gone an entire month without a regulation loss since the San Jose Sharks reeled off 13 wins and two extra-time losses in March 2008. The Maple Leafs were on the wrong end of two Boston victories in November and have dropped all three decisions in the series this season, getting outscored 19-5 in the process. That includes a 6-3 defeat in the opener of a home-and-home set Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBC, NHL Network (U.S.), NESN.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (14-9-2): Frustrated by Boston at every turn so far in 2011, Toronto received some welcome good news Friday when it was learned that netminder James Reimer would return Saturday following an 18-game absence due to a concussion. Reimer will serve as the backup to starter Jonas Gustavsson, who has received the bulk of the work in his absence. “You like the goalie to get in the game-day routine and backing up isn’t a bad idea,” Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (15-7-1): Boston’s historic November surge propelled the club 13 spots in the standings, leaving it just three points back of first-place Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference entering Saturday’s action. While the offense was certainly the catalyst in its two games against Toronto, the defense and goaltending was the real revelation in November as the Bruins surrendered just 24 goals in 13 games. It was their first month without a regulation loss in 42 years.
1. Toronto has prevailed in six of its last eight road games but has just two victories in its last nine trips to Boston.
2. Reimer, 4-0-1 with a 2.58 goals-against average in six games, is expected to start at least once during Toronto’s stretch of three games in four days beginning Saturday.
3. Boston is a cumulative minus-3 in the opening 20 minutes this season, but an astonishing plus-30 in the second and third periods.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1.
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