Hosts still pushing for playoff spot

Hosts still pushing for playoff spot 

Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews snapped a seven-game goalless drought when he potted his 32nd marker of the season Saturday. Can Ontario’s darling carry that momentum into tonight’s matchup?

Atlantic Division rival Boston skates into Toronto shortly, with a 7:30 p.m. ET opening draw at Air Canada Centre. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Claude Julien’s squad odds of -125 to take care of business on the road. The Leafs, on the other hand, represent +105 underdogs.

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Things haven’t come nearly as easily for Matthews during the second half of his debut campaign. Over the weekend, though, he did manage to notch Toronto’s lone tally in a loss to Western Conference-leading Chicago. The 19-year-old’s total of 32 goals ranks ninth in the NHL.

Meanwhile, the Bruins boast their own superlative scorer. With last Thursday’s tally against the Oilers, Brad Marchand moved to within three of Sidney Crosby for the league lead. His linemate, David Pasternak, also has points in 11 straight contests.

If the B’s hope to rebound from the aforementioned defeat at the hands of Edmonton, though, they’ll need Tuukka Rask to right himself. The usually reliable netminder’s ineffectiveness at Rogers Place resulted in a first-period hook by Julien. Considering the Leafs’ fleet of offensive playmakers, though, we’re not expecting any sort of picnic here either.

 

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