After ending a four-game losing streak in their last game, the Toronto Maple Leafs will shoot for a rare win in Boston when they visit the Bruins for tonight's Atlantic Division clash at TD Garden.
Toronto ended an 0-4-0 skid with Sunday's shootout win over visiting New Jersey, but the club could have a difficult time making it two victories in a row tonight.
The Maple Leafs have dropped three straight and 11 of the last 12 regular- season meetings against Boston overall and the Bruins have claimed six straight in Beantown.
Of course, last spring's opening-round playoff loss against the Bruins is not a source of confidence for the Maple Leafs either. Toronto pushed Boston to seven games last May and held a 4-1 third-period lead in Game 7 before coming apart at the seams. The Bruins scored three times in the final 10 minutes of regulation to send the decisive game into overtime and then won it 5-4 on a Patrice Bergeron goal in the extra session.
Boston is 2-0 since that classic Game 7 battle, taking a 3-1 decision at home on Nov. 9 before notching a 5-2 decision in Toronto on Dec. 8.
Despite its recent failures against the Bruins, Toronto will try to build off Sunday's win over the visiting Devils when it visits TD Garden tonight. James van Riemsdyk scored the lone goal of the shootout to help Toronto get back in the win column for the first time since beating Detroit in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
Van Riemsdyk opened the shootout with a nifty backhander past Cory Schneider before Jonathan Bernier turned aside all three New Jersey shooters to give Toronto the extra point. Van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak each lit the lamp in regulation, while Bernier stopped 36 shots to help snap Toronto's slide.
"We needed this bad," Bernier said. "We found a way. If that's what it takes to go into a shootout and get points and move on like this, it feels good for the confidence."
Bernier will get the start tonight and he'll be looking for his first career win against Boston. He is 0-2-0 with a 5.67 goals against average versus the B's and was in net for Toronto's 5-2 loss to Boston on Dec. 8.
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, has stellar career numbers against the Leafs, going 9-1-0 with a 1.41 GAA in 10 starts.
Rask is coming off his league-leading fifth shutout of the season, as he stopped all 26 shots in Saturday's 1-0 win in San Jose. Carl Soderberg scored the only goal of the game for the Bruins, who finished a three-game California trip with a mark of 1-2-0.
Soderberg's goal came at 12:25 of the third period and it wasn't exactly one for the highlight reel. Loui Eriksson fired a shot on net from the right wing that was blocked by a defender before it got to the net. The puck, though, dribbled down to the left side where Soderberg slammed it in for his sixth of the year.
"A goal's a goal in this league," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "You get some tough ones that go against you so every once in a while it's good to have some go for you. That's the breaks of the game, and sometimes you have to make them yourself."
Boston is home for just one game before playing two straight and four of its next five away from TD Garden. The Bruins are 18-4-2 as the host compared to an 11-10-0 mark on the road.