From The Star
It’s not like it’s a tough schedule, but when you’re on the bottom looking up, nothing is easy. The Maple Leafs get some familiar foes this week — Boston, New Jersey and Ottawa — and the best thing might be off-ice stuff. Mike Babcock coaches his 1,000th game (Thursday vs. New Jersey). The same night, the Leafs will honour Darryl Sittler’s 10-point game three days shy of its actual the 40th anniversary.
Tuesday, at Boston, 7 p.m.
The Leafs renew acquaintances with a team they simply can’t beat. The Leafs are 0-2-1 against Boston so far this year, losing in the last minute of play in their last game in Boston. . . . The Bruins are 11-13-2 at home, a cause for concern. . . . With 19 goals in 49 games, Patrice Bergeron is on pace to challenge his career-high of 31 in 2005-06. . . . The Bruins had hoped Joonas Kemppainen could be a third-line centre. He has a goal and two assists in 35 games. . . . The Bruins placed Jonas Gustavsson was placed on the injured reserve after he was admitted to hospital last week for an elevated heart rate. They called up Malcolm Subban.
Thursday vs. New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
The Devils are 25-20-5 record and 55 points, tied for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. . . . Add or subtract? The Devils have 13 players with pending free agencies ― nine unrestricted and four restricted. . . . Travis Zajack ($5.75 million through 2020-21) has seven goals and 23 points in 42 games this season.
Saturday at Ottawa, 7 p.m.
The Battle of Ontario is a shadow of itself, but it was around this time last year the Senators got hot. … The Senators won the only game of the season so far between the two teams, 5-4 in a shootout. . . . Defenceman Erik Karlsson ranks fourth in the NHL scoring race with 11 goals and 41 assists and first with an average ice time of 28:51 per game. . . . Chris Neil’s 106 penalty minutes put him over the 2,400-minute mark for his career.