Leafs coach Mike Babcock indicated we will know with certainty after the morning skate on Monday who is in net against an Avalanche team that was shut out in Montreal by the Canadiens on Saturday night and has lost nine of its past 10 games.
With 18 seconds left in the middle frame, Zaitsev went to play the puck in the corner, only instead of sending it around to a waiting Travis Dermott behind the net, the 27-year-old flubbed the attempt. Saturday marked the first time this season that Boston's top six defensemen - Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Matt Grzelcyk - were healthy enough to play in the same game.
While that was the case again Sunday - Toronto's head coach said he doesn't know the identity of his starter for Monday's visit from the Colorado Avalanche - roll call at practice and Frederik Andersen's answers suggest the club is on the verge of getting its No. 1 netminder back in the crease.
The Leafs had the better opportunities and outshot the Bruins 15-9 in the first, but the strong goaltending of Tuukka Rask kept the game scoreless until Sean Kuraly set up David Krejci for his ninth of the season late in the opening period. He's 2-3-0 with a.914 SV% and 2.64 GAA, he even has a shutout!
"He's been good for us, he's made some key saves", Auston Matthews said of Hutchinson. We've lost (14 consecutive games) against Washington. "We hung him out to dry in that Nashville game".
Unlike their loss in Boston last month, the outcome of the game was not about the Bruins physical play or being unable to stop the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line, it was more about them getting contributions throughout their lineup (a three-point night from bottom six forward Kuraly) and taking advantage of Toronto's Achilles heel on the blueline. William Nylander has one goal in 16 games since his contract impasse ended at the beginning of last month, while Nazem Kadri has scored once in his last 17. "I thought we had a couple of mistakes there where we ended up with guys below the goal line for no reason, one right at the end of the period, which ended up costing us obviously, and another execution one". Kasperi Kapanen added two assists.
Boston took the deciding 3-2 lead at 19:45 of the second after another Toronto turnover.
The reeling Avalanche, who were tied for first in the Western Conference just over a month ago, have lost nine of their last 10 games (1-7-2), and since a 5-2 victory over Florida on December 6 are just 3-10-3 - the worst record in the National Hockey League over that span.
Colorado (20-17-8) now occupies the conference's second wild-card spot, but is also only three points up on the 10th-place Edmonton Oilers.
"Definitely feel ready to go", Andersen said after practice at the MasterCard Centre on Sunday. He came up and he stepped in and he did a really good job for us.
"There's a sense of urgency, and so there should be". Under is 6-1-1 in the last 8 meetings in Toronto and over is 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings and road team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. I think it should be (a statement game).