Boston, MA – The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 8-2 Thursday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Nik Antropov scored two for Toronto and Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala made 27 saves in the victory. Peter Schaefer and Phil Kessel scored for Boston.
After the game, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien remained calm and collected.
“This is when a coach has to be in control, and if I panic, it’s only going to make things worse,” said Julien. “I think it’s important that I keep control of what’s going on right now and help those guys find their way back into playing well.”
Julien surely deserves credit for his demeanor, as it was probably hard for him not to sound angry.
Coming off two losses, the B's had hoped to bag the Leafs in tonight’s game, their third game in four nights. And Coach Julien had hoped his players would focus on finding their game in this "Original Six" match-up.
To wit, the Bruins showed some fire early in the first. But Toskala was sharp early and made some terrific saves, particularly when he robbed the Bruins of a goal a little under four minutes into the first.
Alexander Steen then headed to the box to serve time for a hooking penalty with 10:27 left, and gave the Bruins the man advantage. Just seconds after the Leafs returned to full strength, however, Schaefer pushed the puck past Toskala at 11:40 off a pass from David Krejci, making the score 1-0.
P.J. Axelsson entered the box with 5:37 left, and Toronto used the man advantage to their benefit when, with nine seconds left in the penalty, Jason Blake score a power-play goal to tie the game and end the scoring for the period.
Just 1:17 into the second, Alexei Ponkiarovsky’s shot clanked off the post, past Thomas, and into the Bruins goal, sending the Leafs up 2-1.
Glen Murray garnered a hooking penalty with 16:51 left, and Toronto scored another power-play goal, this time by Bryan McCabe, when the puck bounced off a Boston defenseman at 4:48.
A goal with 11:55 remaining, scored by Matthew Stajan, went to video review, but the ruling stood and the Leafs went up 4-1.
The whole pack of on-ice players got involved in a scuffle behind the B’s net with 9:33 to go, landing Chara in the box for cross-checking.
The Leafs power play proved deadly once more, as Nikolai Antropov sent Toronto up by four goals at 11:50, and the Bruins sent Alex Auld into goal.
The Black & Gold gained the man advantage at 17:43, after Mats Sundin was called for interference, but they failed to score
The teams headed to the locker rooms with the Leafs up 5-1.
Just 1:35 into the third period, McCabe was called for interference, and the B's gained the man advantage for two minutes, but could not get the puck past Toskala.
The Leafs, however, made the score 6-1 with a goal by Darcy Tucker at 6:44, while Andrew Ference was in the box for tripping.
Not two minutes later, at 8:16, Antropov scored another goal, his second of the night, to put Toronto up 7-1.
At 15:05, Sundin scored the Leafs eighth goal, and a scrum at 15:48 turned into an all-out fight when Shane Hnidy looked to settle a score with Ponkiarovsky who had slashed Marco Sturm.
Hnidy was given a five-minute penalty for fighting and a game misconduct.
But it was Boston's Kessel who found the net with under a minute to play to make the final score 8-2.
“The only way we can get of [this trouble] is to work together as a team and stick together as a team, and we will be fine,” said Chara in the Boston locker room following the loss.
Coach Julien agreed that there’s work to be done, and said he’s ready to stand by his team.
“I love coaching that group,” emphasized Julien. “They care, they want to play well, they want to play for the city, and there’s a lot of pride.
“It’s just a matter of sticking with them.”
1 - 0 BOS
1 - 1 Tie