The Boston Bruins will look to begin a new home winning streak when they host the Atlantic Division rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Boston plays its first game since its franchise-record home point streak to start a season was snapped at 22 games (19-0-3) with Seattle’s 3-0 Thursday shutout. It was the Bruins’ first home loss since Apr. 14, 2022.
“I don’t think at any point we were negative,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “I felt there was a belief the whole time that we were gonna come back. The biggest difference I noticed from previous games was in the third period we didn’t have the charge in us, so that just tells me our batteries are low.”
Prior to Thursday, Boston had not played since last Sunday’s dominant 7-1 win at Anaheim. The effects of a three-game California swing — which followed the high of the Jan. 2 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park — may have shown a bit against the Kraken.
Seattle scored 7:14 in and added goals in both the second and third periods, never looking back despite the charge of the Bruins, who landed 10 of their 27 shots on goal in the second period.
“I think as professionals we need to be ready to go every night,” defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “You can blame some things on the travel or whatnot. I don’t find those much as excuses because we’re all pros here and every team has to go through it, so those are the battles we have to face.”
Thursday marked goaltender Linus Ullmark’s (22-2-1) first regulation loss since Nov. 5 at Toronto. The Bruins could opt to go back to Jeremy Swayman, who is 4-0-2 in his last six starts.
Next in line for Boston is a Maple Leafs team that had a three-game win streak snapped with Thursday’s 4-1 loss at Detroit. Rasmus Sandin scored the lone goal.
“I loved the effort from our team tonight,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “They came at us really hard and got ahead, but we got it back to 2-1 and fought basically to the end. We just didn’t create enough offense.”
Toronto is 3-2-1 since the calendar flipped to 2023 but has won four consecutive head-to-head meetings with Boston, including the aforementioned Nov. 5 home game it won 2-1.
Boston, which is 8-0-0 following a loss, has not yet hosted Toronto this season.
The Leafs have played their recent back-to-back against Nashville and Detroit without star center and 20-goal scorer Auston Matthews, who is dealing with an undisclosed injury and woke up Thursday feeling ill.
Keefe did not know Matthews’ status following the Thursday game, though ESPN reported that he is expected to play in Boston.
“Auston is one of the best players in the world, if not the best, so we’re obviously better when he’s in the lineup,” Sandin said. “We worked hard tonight to try to make up for it, but he’s got big shoes to fill. If he’s out there tonight, he probably puts in a puck if not two, three or four.”
–Field Level Media