Final SO

Series (Game 6 of 6)

Toronto leads 4-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 28th
Maple Leafs0Final
Game 2: Saturday, December 4th
Maple Leafs3
Game 3: Monday, January 3rd
Maple Leafs1
Game 4: Tuesday, February 15th
Maple Leafs4Final
Game 5: Saturday, March 19th
Maple Leafs5
Game 6: Thursday, March 31st
Maple Leafs4Final

Maple Leafs 4

(36-32-10, 82 pts)

Bruins 3

(43-23-11, 97 pts)

Coverage: TSN

7:00 PM ET, March 31, 2011

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

1 2 3 SO T
TOR 1 1 1 14
BOS 0 3 0 03

J. Lupul (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

B. Marchand (Bruins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

N. Kadri (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Maple Leafs-Bruins Preview


The Boston Bruins have a comfortable lead in the Northeast Division, but they are playing as though they have no margin for error.

That's actually the case for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who despite very slim hopes are trying to make an unlikely run to the playoffs.

The Bruins look to win their third straight and clinch the division title when they host the surging Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Boston (43-23-10) is in third place in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Washington, and has a seven-point lead over Montreal in the Northeast. The Bruins need two points to secure their second division title in three seasons.

Boston has won four of five, giving up three total goals in the last five contests. The Bruins recorded their second shutout during that stretch with a 3-0 win over Chicago on Tuesday -- both coming from Tim Thomas, who made 32 saves against the Blackhawks.

The Bruins have secured a playoff spot but have kept the pressure on as they look to improve their seeding.

"It doesn't matter that you clinch, I mean you still have to play desperate hockey. And especially the teams we are facing are playing for their playoff spots, playoff positions," defenseman Zdeno Chara told the team's official website. "We want to get ready for the playoffs, and improve our game."

Thomas certainly hasn't been coasting. The Vezina Trophy favorite has lowered his NHL-leading goals-against average to 1.96 in winning his last four starts.

"It just gives us confidence," center Patrice Bergeron said of having Thomas in net. "We have a breakdown, we know that he's there for us. So it's huge for confidence like that."

Thomas and the Bruins, however, have had problems against the Maple Leafs this season. Boston is 2-2-1 in the season series, with Thomas going 1-2-1 with a 2.58 GAA. He gave up four goals in each of his last two starts versus Toronto, both losses, the most recent a 5-2 defeat March 19.

While the Bruins know they're going to the playoffs, the Maple Leafs (35-32-10) are unlikely to make it to the postseason despite their recent strong play.

Toronto is in 10th place and several points behind Buffalo for the eighth spot. The Maple Leafs improved their slight chances of earning a playoff berth by beating the Sabres 4-3 on Tuesday, their fourth victory in five games.

A loss to Buffalo would have virtually ended the Leafs' hopes. Toronto will likely need to win out to have any chance.

"We're going to try and win all of our games and see what happens," coach Ron Wilson said. "If we don't get in, we don't get in. But we'll have given it our best shot."

Mikhail Grabovski gave Toronto the lead in the second period and the Maple Leafs outshot the Sabres 14-8 in the third. It was the third time in five games they scored at least four goals.

Grabovski has three goals against the Bruins this season.

Rookie James Reimer has started the last two victories over Boston. He had 28 saves Tuesday and has won five of his last six starts.