Maple Leafs vs. Bruins
Boston, MA - Phil Kessel leads the Toronto Maple Leafs with nine points and hopes the early success will help end his struggles against his former team.
Kessel and the Maple Leafs will look for their first win at TD Garden since Oct. 23, 2008, when they face the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Bruins –175 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Maple Leafs. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 637 bets for this game have been placed on the Bruins -175.
Toronto is 3-8-3 in its last 14 games against the Bruins, whom they've lost to five straight times on the road.
Kessel was sent from Boston to Toronto prior to the 2009-10 season in a blockbuster deal after he led the Bruins with a career-high 36 goals.
The talented right wing has been taunted by fans during his trips back to Boston and has been held to one assist in six games against his former teammates.
After losing three consecutive games, Toronto (5-2-1) defeated the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Tuesday night behind goals from Tyler Bozak, Colton Orr, and Kessel, who added one late in the third-period.
"I'm feeling good," said Kessel. "The most important thing is we got the win tonight. That's a big win for us."
Fredrik Sjostrom, who tallied his first point of the season against the Panthers, is looking forward to facing Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Bruins defense, which has allowed an NHL-low 11 goals.
"He's got a bomb, I've felt it, you kind of relish that, I always like a good challenge and its going to be a good one for us tomorrow," Sjostrom said. "We'll have to be on our best to shut them down."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 21 saves as he improved to 4-1-1. Despite a 3.90 goals-against average on the road, he is expected to start this game.
The Maple Leafs will be without forward Colby Armstrong, who is expected to miss at least four weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a finger injury he sustained against Florida. Toronto recalled Luca Caputi from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL to take Armstrong's spot.
The Bruins (4-2-0) have also been dealing with injuries, as defenseman Johnny Boychuk suffered a broken left arm in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. Marco Sturm, who led Boston with 22 goals last season, is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the playoffs and yet to play.
Boychuk had scored a point in three straight games before being forced out of action in the first period.
"Unfortunately, it happened to (Boychuk) and you know, we have the extra defenseman in here, so I'm sure we're going to dress all six D we have right now," Chara told the team's official site. "We all have to pick it up and fill those spots that Johnny was playing."
Chara found the back of the net for his second goal this season, and Nathan Horton added his team-leading fifth in the defeat.After leading the league with a 1.97 goals-against average in 2009-10, Tuukka Rask has struggled thus far. He stopped 27 of 30 shots and fell to 0-2-0, but is 4-1-0 with a 1.78 GAA versus Toronto in his career.