As Seen on NESN – Despite missing two leading scorers – Marc Savard did not make the trip to Toronto due to injury and Chuck Kobasew was injured early in the first period – the Boston Bruins downed the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-2, Tuesday night in the first game of a home-and-home series at the Air Canada Centre.
Having arrived in the Great White North without Savard and Andrew Ference, the B’s entered the game ready to fight and win, even without the two key players on their bench.
"We've been without key players all year long," said Boston forward Kobasew after pre-game skate. "It's something that is not new to us, and it gives everyone else that extra little opportunity to show what they can do to help the team win."
Boston earned the first power play of the night when Mark Bell was called for roughing 2:24 into the game.
More bad luck in the injury category seemed to plague the B’s early in the man advantage, as Kobasew limped off the rink after getting hit by the puck and falling to the ice in front of the Maple Leafs net.
But that didn’t stop the Bruins from getting the first goal of the game, making the score 1-0 about a minute and a half into the power play, at 3:57, when a shot by Lashoff, recently called up from the AHL once again, deflected off Glen Murray and past Vesa Toskala into the Leafs goal.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played with the lead, and to get that confidence back quickly was nice,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We knew they were going to be a desperate team, and we had to win it in regulation, and we needed to have a good start, so it was nice to get that goal.”
Aaron Ward was called for hooking at 10:47, giving the Leafs their chance at the man advantage. A battle for the puck in the right corner of the B’s end of the rink ate up some time and helped Boston keep Toronto at bay
Toronto continued to apply pressure full-force, but solid all-around play from the entire team and good saves by Thomas, including a glove save on a high shot by Alexander Steen at 16:28, allowed the Black & Gold to enter the locker room ahead by one after the first period.
Krejci gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead, with another assist going to Lashoff, when he knocked down a shot and shoved it past Toskala from the crease just 1:12 into the second.
A short scuffle between Kessel and Staffan Kronvall involved some pushing and shoving, but the two were separated by referees before it could escalate.
Darcy Tucker entered the penalty box at 7:24 for hooking after some yelling with the refs, giving the Bruins another chance with the man advantage.
Sturm took that chance and, just under a minute into the power play, at 8:20, tossed the puck into the other side of the net while Toskala was defending the other side, making the score 3-0 Bruins.
Boston would continue to have a man advantage when Bryan McCabe was called for delay of game at 8:20 and earn a 30-second five-on-three as Pavel Kubina garnered a slashing penalty at 9:43.
Despite a good effort by Thomas, the puck found its way into the Boston net during a pile-up at 15:30. The goal was credited to Jason Blake, making the score 3-1 in favor of the Bruins to end the second period.
Thornton made it 4-1 as he sprinted up ice, beating both Toronto defensemen, and faked out Toaskala to score the goal at 3:05.
“That’s why we call him Sugar Shawn,” said Lucic. “He put his little bit of sugar into it, and he faked, and I think the move worked because Toskala probably didn’t think he could do something like that.”
Steen headed to the box for goaltender interference at 9:46, but the Leafs held Boston back.
Then, Glen Metropolit was called for tripping at 13:09, and Alexei Ponikarovsky used the power play to score the Leafs second goal of the game at 14:44.
Kessel fought back, though, and made the score 5-2 with 3:45 remaining in the game, prompting Toronto to pull Toskala in favor of an extra player.
Reich scored an empty-net goal with 17 seconds left to make the final score 6-2.
“It’s exactly what we needed to do,” said Lucic. “We played a full 60-minute game, we were going to net, and we buried our chances.”
Plus, the win was an effort involving the entire Bruins team.
“I think all 20 guys that were out there tonight did a great job,” said Thornton.
1 - 0 BOS
2 - 0 BOS
3 - 0 BOS