Bruins, Leafs tangle up north

The Bruins haven't looked like the defending Stanley Cup 12, but they had their championship swagger when they faced the Maple Leafs for the first time this season.

Boston looks to duplicate that form tonight and win a second straight game for the first time this season in a meeting with the surprise Northeast Division leaders at Air Canada Centre.

The Bruins opened defense of their Cup victory by losing seven of 10 in the month of October, but one of those victories came at home over the Maple Leafs on Oct. 20. Boston had its best offensive showing of the season in the 6-2 win, getting a goal and an assist each from Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin and Zdeno Chara.

Tim Thomas was also solid in net for Boston, making 26 saves, while former Bruins Phil Kessel was held to just one shot against his former club.

Kessel owns 10 goals and 17 points, but has just a pair of goals and six points in 13 games against the Bruins with a minus-8 rating.

Boston turned the page on its horrid October with a 5-3 victory over Ottawa on Tuesday. Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille scored 37 seconds apart in the third period to help the Bruins snap a three-game losing streak.

Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and former Senator Chris Kelly also scored and Thomas made 23 saves. Bergeron ran his point streak to five straight games.

"We just have to keep working hard and we'll put together wins," said Paille. "It was a good game tonight and everyone contributed. Defensively we did pretty good and the offense was able to provide some big goals when we needed them."

Chara had two assists for the Bruins, who outshot the Senators 41-26 and begin a five-game homestand on Monday versus the Islanders.

Boston will try to make up some ground on a Toronto club that leads the division with 19 points and has won two straight and four of five. The Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the hosting Blue Jackets in their last trip to the ice on Thursday.

Clarke MacArthur scored twice, while John-Michael Liles and Joey Crabb added goals.

"I was able to get a couple shots off and lucky enough they went in," MacArthur said.

With James Reimer still out due to injury, head coach Ron Wilson opted to rest Jonas Gustavsson and give Ben Scrivens his first career start. He responded with 38 saves to earn his initial NHL victory.

"I've put in a lot of hard work to get to this point," Scrivens said following his NHL debut. "I probably gave up more rebounds than I wanted to but the guys were there blocking shots and picking up sticks."

Toronto took four of six over Boston last year and is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings at home.