After failing to secure at least one point against a Northeast Division foe in their last game, the Boston Bruins look to maintain their dominance over another on Saturday. Coach Claude Julien’s club will vie for its seventh straight victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs when the Original Six rivals collide at the Air Canada Centre. Boston let a two-goal advantage go by the boards en route to a 7-4 setback to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
The Maple Leafs would be best served to rid themselves from the painful memories of last season’s series with the Bruins. Toronto suffered lopsided 7-0 and 8-0 losses to Boston and was outscored by a gaudy 36-10 margin. Phil Kessel struggled versus his former team and is still searching for his first goal of the campaign, although he registered seven shots in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday. In 2011-12, Kessel recorded career highs in both goals (37) and assists (45).
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), CBC, RDS, (Toronto), NHL Network
ABOUT THE BRUINS (5-1-1): Tyler Seguin, who ultimately was obtained in the deal which sent Kessel north of the border, has flourished against the Maple Leafs. The second overall pick of the 2010 draft, Seguin posted his first career hat trick in the 7-0 rout and collected seven goals and 11 points versus Toronto in 2011-12. While Seguin is packing a punch, enforcer Shawn Thornton was felled by one on Thursday - courtesy of Buffalo’s John Scott - and will miss seven-to-10 days with a concussion.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (4-3-0): Although Kessel is struggling, Matt Frattin is making the most of his time since being recalled from the American Hockey League. With Joffrey Lupul sidelined with a broken forearm, Frattin has collected four goals in as many games and added two assists since being brought up from the Marlies. Frattin’s game-winning tally helped Toronto overcome a third-period deficit to upend Washington and secure its second straight win. Thursday’s home victory was the Maple Leafs’ first this season.
1. C Brad Marchand scored twice on Thursday and leads Boston with five goals. The pesky Nova Scotia native has seven points in 12 career games versus Toronto.
2. The Maple Leafs are just 6-for-39 (15.4 percent) on the power play this season. They really lack juice with the man advantage at home, going 2-for-20 (10 percent).
3. Bruins LW Daniel Paille is sidelined with an upper-body injury. As a result, RW Jamie Tardif was recalled from Providence of the AHL and is expected to make his NHL debut on Saturday.