The Boston Bruins hope their recent success against the Toronto Maple Leafs will help them avoid their longest losing streak of the season on Thursday.
Boston will aim for its eighth straight win in this series when it hosts the streaking Maple Leafs at TD Garden. The Bruins notched a 1-0 win at Toronto on Feb. 2 in the first of four meetings between the Northeast Division foes this season.
The Leafs haven't defeated Boston since a 4-3 shootout victory at TD Garden on March 31, 2011. Toronto has lost three straight in Beantown since that win and has been outscored by a combined 18-3 margin over those three setbacks.
Boston is 0-1-1 over its last two games, marking just the second time this season the club has suffered consecutive losses. The B's most recent setback was a rough one, as Washington overcame a 3-0 first-period deficit to post a 4-3 overtime victory in Tuesday's contest in D.C.
Eric Fehr scored the game-winner 37 seconds into overtime for the Capitals. Fehr was skating over the Boston blue line when Nicklas Backstrom laid a lead pass one stride ahead. The veteran grinder accepted the feed, skated between a pair of Bruins defenders and scored with a rising shot to the far post.
Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Doug Hamilton tallied for the Bruins, who were facing the Caps for the first time since Washington won a Game 7 in Boston to close out a first-round playoff series last April. Tuukka Rask made 22 stops in the setback.
"We were sloppy on the forecheck and not doing the things we're supposed to, and they just kept coming on odd-man rushes," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "Then, in our own end, we were puck-watching and all of a sudden, [the puck] is in our net. You could sense in the second [period] we weren't the sharpest."
The Bruins are opening a brief two-game homestand on Thursday and will also host Philadelphia on Saturday. Boston is 6-2-1 at the Garden this season.
Toronto won its third straight game Wednesday night against Ottawa, posting a 5-4 home victory over the Senators. Former Bruin Phil Kessel posted a goal and two assists as the Maple Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 lead before holding on for the win.
James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak each notched a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, while James Reimer gave up four goals on 43 shots in the win.
"I think we've been doing a lot of good things here and we've been getting paid off with our work," said Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf. "With this short season every point is needed, and we want to keep building what we've been working on."
The Leafs are 9-4-0 as the road team this season and will try for their third straight away victory on Thursday.