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Thursday, October 20, 2011

News & Notes Heading Into Tonight's Bruins Game vs. the Maple Leafs at TD Garden

Tonight marks the first Northeast Division game of the season for the Boston Bruins (2-4-0) as the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0-1) visit TD Garden for the first of six matchups between the teams.

The Leafs are off to a great start, including their comeback 3-2 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets last night at home. Former Bruins whipping boy Phil Kessel (7 goals, 5 assists) is playing some of the best hockey of his life; he leads the NHL in goals and points plus he looks more confident than he's ever been (always an issue).

Bruins center David Krejci is 50-50 to return this evening after missing the last three contests with a mysterious core injury. Defenseman Adam McQuaid (neck) has already been ruled out and he'll miss his third straight game. Steven Kampfer will make his 2011-12 debut as Matt Bartkowski has rightfully been returned to Providence after a lukewarm start.

Regardless if Krejci plays tonight or not, B's head coach Claude Julien has chosen to shake up the top three forward lines. Chris Kelly moves up to the first line where he'll center Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin. Nathan Horton drops to the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand; finally, Rich Peverley will go to the third line with Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron. The Fribble Crew-aka the fourth line-of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton remains intact.

With an NHL-low 11 goals (1.67 per game when you discount the shootout goal by Seguin), it was time for Claude to make some changes in hopes of injecting some energy into his lifeless and offensively-challenged team.

Tim Thomas is expected to start for Boston between the pipes while Toronto backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson gets his first action of the season. The B's catch a break there as Maple Leafs youngster James Reimer is one of the best up and coming goalies in the NHL.

UPDATE: Krejci is back, Caron sits in the press box (healthy scratch).

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