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Bruins, Maple Leafs set to renew hostilities in Toronto

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins were involved in a contentious battle with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and managed to pick up a win thanks to some late heroics.

The Bruins will jump right back into the fray on Sunday when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre for the first time since beating them in the opening round of last season's playoffs.

David Krejci and Zdeno Chara scored goals 1:16 apart late in regulation on Saturday to send the Bruins to a 3-2 decision over the visiting Penguins, but unfortunately the game will be remembered for a pair of ugly incidents in the first period.

During a scrum which was created by a kneeing call to Pittsburgh's James Neal against a defenseless Brad Marchand with 8:54 remaining in the first period, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton grabbed Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik from behind and punched him twice, the second time as the veteran blueliner was on the ice.

Medical personnel were immediately summoned, and the 33-year-old blueliner was completely immobilized before being loaded onto a stretcher and taken away for evaluation. Following the game, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma reported that Orpik was out of the hospital and will travel back home with his teammates.

"I made a mistake. I feel awful," Thornton offered in defense.

Thornton drew a match penalty for his actions -- apparently in retribution for a clean but hard hit Orpik laid on Bruins forward Loui Eriksson early in the game. Eriksson was later reported to have suffered a concussion and will not travel with his club for today's game in Toronto.

"Those are unfortunate incidents when you see guys get injured. That's called Eriksson and it's also called Orpik," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.

Thornton will have an in-person disciplinary hearing with the league, meaning he could face a suspension of greater than five games for his actions. Neal, meanwhile, will have a phone hearing to discuss a possible punishment for his kneeing incident.

The rough stuff overshadowed the late comeback by Boston, which won for the third time in four games thanks to Chara's game-winner with 13 seconds left in regulation. He wristed a shot from between the circles to give Boston a 3-2 lead just 76 seconds after Krejci tied the game.

Reilly Smith also lit the lamp and added the primary assist on Chara's goal for the Bruins, who bounced back from a one-goal loss in Montreal on Thursday and have won seven of their last 10 overall.

Tuukka Rask made 28 saves on Saturday as the hosts kept pace with the first- place Habs in the Atlantic Division. Montreal, which also won Saturday against Buffalo, is one point ahead of the Bruins for the top spot, but Boston could move past the idle Canadiens on Sunday.

Today's clash is the second of four scheduled meetings between the Bruins and Maple Leafs this season. In addition to winning a classic seven-game playoff battle against Toronto in the opening round of last spring's postseason, the Bruins have taken two straight and 10 of the past 11 regular-season matchups in this Original Six rivalry.

Boston recorded a 3-1 win over a visiting Toronto team on Nov. 9 in the first of four scheduled meetings this season between the Atlantic Division foes. Patrice Bergeron notched two goals for the B's and Rask stopped 33-of-34 shots for the victory.

Toronto had lost four straight regular-season games on home ice against the Bruins before ending that slide with a 3-2 regulation victory on March 23 of last season.

The Leafs enter Sunday having won two straight on the heels of a season-worst five-game losing streak. Toronto halted the 0-3-2 slide with an overtime victory Thursday against visiting Dallas and then notched a 4-3 shootout win in Ottawa on Saturday.

James van Riemsdyk scored 97 seconds into the game and again in a shootout to help Toronto down the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators rallied from a 3-1 deficit with third-period goals by Erik Condra and Erik Karlsson, but Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer stopped Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek in the shootout to help his team gain the extra point.

The Maple Leafs halted a seven-game road losing streak with the shootout decision. They had lost seven in a row on the road since a win at Calgary on Oct. 30.

Phil Kessel and Jake Gardiner scored in the victory and Reimer had 47 saves.

Toronto is 10-5-0 as the home club this season and is kicking off a two-game homestand on Sunday and will close the brief home stretch against Los Angeles on Wednesday. The Leafs are playing six of their next eight at Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs are currently sitting fifth in the Atlantic Division, five points in back of the Bruins and six behind first-place Montreal.

12/08 11:02:01 ET

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Schedule

Thursday, April 17Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia 4/17 7:00 PM ET
NY Rangers TSN, CNBC, CSN-PHI, MSG
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Chicago 4/17 8:00 PM ET
St. Louis NBCSN, CSN-CHI, FSN-MW
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Minnesota 4/17 9:30 PM ET
Colorado CNBC, TSN, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
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San Jose NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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7:05pm Tonight
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NOR