Glen Metropolit scores and celebrates. (photo: Babineau)
Boston, MA -- Thanks to the two-goal effort of forward Peter Schaefer, goals from Markc Savard, Marco Sturm and Glen Metropolit, and 34 saves from Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2, Thursday night at the TD Banknorth Garden.
The Maple Leafs had floated into the Garden consistently scoring plenty of goals, but allowing a lot of goals, too. On the opposite side of the ice, the B's had been getting great goaltending from Thomas, but nothing seemed to be hitting opposing twine.
As a result, and thanks to their proximity in the standings, the two squads found themselves thinking about playoff positioning, early in the season, on a cold rainy night in November.
The game heated up quickly, however, and took on a playoff-like atmosphere thanks to a spectacular goal from would-be All-Star Marc Savard just 19-seconds into the first.
Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic, left, fights with Toronto Maple Leafs leftwing Mark Bell.
Then, prototype power forward, rookie Milan Lucic, scored a clear TKO over Mark Bell in what amounted to a three round bout in the Toronto zone.
The Buds Kyle Wellwood backhanded a shot by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas at 11:08, but Boston's Marco Sturm took the lead back for the B's at 11:40 with a nifty snap shot that beat T.O.'s Andrew Raycroft.
Perhaps sensing that they were playing with too much abandon, both squads slowed their pace during the second period, but Toronto native Glen Metropolit helped the Bruins take control of the game when he spun around the net, picked up the puck and shoveled it into Raycroft's goal at 10:16.
"It was a pure mucker's goal," said Metropolit. "We kept it down low...and I happened to get a rebound.
"That was the old (street hockey) tennis ball in front of the net -- lift it up."
But at 11:57 Alxei Ponikarovsky brought Toronto back within one score at 3-2, Boston.
The Black & Gold came out of their locker room determined to take back the momentum, and, using a screen by Brandon Bochenski, Peter Schaefer scored his second goal of the season at just 2:11.
Boston Bruins left wing Peter Schaefer, left, is congratulated by Marc Savard, center, and Brandon Bochenski after his goal off Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday Nov. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Schaefer scored again at 5:35 to give Boston a three goal buffer and the Bruins took that lead to the final buzzer.
"I'd say Schaef's getting rewarded," said Metropolit. "He's been working hard. He's been on the ice early everyday and it's nice that he finally got a couple of goals."
Schaefer said that he had to rethink his approach.
"I just had to go back to being patient with the puck," he said. "And I think being strong (on the puck) so you can take the first hit and roll off of it.
"That sometimes creates chances."
Bruins head coach Claude Julien hopes that the team's momentum follows the club to Montreal on Saturday.
"I thought what we saw tonight was a lot of the things we had been working on this week," said Julien. "We have to keep building on that and I think it was great for the guys' confidence."