As Seen on NESN -- The Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1, Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre. Recently acquired Boston goalie Alex Auld (25 saves) helped his new club leapfrog the Montreal Canadiens into second place in the Northeast Division with an outstanding debut.
Boston Bruins goalie Alex Auld makes a glove save on a shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007. Auld made his first start for the Bruins since being acquired by the team Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
"It's been so great (to be with Boston)," said Auld to NESN's Rob Simpson after the game. "I didn't know a lot of the guys, but they made me fee very welcome.
"That helps a lot.
"It's special coming here -- my dad was in the crowd -- so it's awesome to be able to get a win here," he said.
Boston, fresh off two heartbreaking losses (one in regulation, one in OT) and 1-1-1 in their last three games, traveled to Canada hoping to put the good ship Black & Gold back on a winning heading, but missing their usual pilot -- goalie Tim Thomas, currently suffering from a groin injury.
On the opposite bench stood the streaking Toronto Maple Leafs. The Buds had won their last four contests and had taken points out of their last five games while playing at a powerful 4-0-1 clip.
Auld, who was traded to Boston on Thursday and who rooted for Toronto as a youngster, was thrown headlong into the fray. He was beaten by the Leafs Jason Blake at 10:28 to make the score 1-0 T.O. in the first period.
"He was coming down the wing pretty quick (when) he shot it," said Auld. "He just kind of caught me off guard and it's one that I definitely want back.
"But it's how you respond to these things (that matters) and I battled the rest of the way and we were able to get the win."
But a penalty to Toronto's Pavel Kubina quickly gave Boston an important power play.
Seventh Player Award candidate Chuck Kobasew (the team leader in goals) took advantage of the man advantage to score his 12th at 12:25 and draw the contest even, 1-1. Meanwhile, B's rookie defenseman Matt Hunwick earned an assist on the goal -- his first NHL point.
"I thought we played solid through most of the game," said Kobasew, who explained that his goal came from a great pass from Hunwick.
"He hit me there, created a two on one and I tried to get the shot off quick."
Boston Bruins' defense man Dennis Wideman, left, is congratulated by players on the bench on his second period goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in NHL hockey action in Toronto, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
Defenseman Dennis Wideman, having a renaissance of his own, added another Boston goal in the second period, when, from the blue line, he found twine at 9:25 to put Boston up 2-1. Despite an up tick in physical play, and Toronto's attempt to rough up the Bruins, thanks to Wideman Boston went to the second intermission in control of the game.
The third period offered more of the same with tempers consistently flaring and with the Leafs testing the B's at every turn.
Auld became the name called the most by NESN's Jack Edwards as the former loomed large in front of the B's barrel and made save after save after save in the third session in order to ensure a Boston victory.
"The more confident you are, the more comfortable you feel," said Auld. "And consistency is huge.
"That's the biggest thing about goaltending -- to be solid and give your team a chance to win every night."
"It was a big win for us tonight," said B's head coach Claude Julien. "Our guys battled hard.
"We got great goaltending, with some great big saves at the end.
"I like the way the guys battled tonight."