NHL Game Summary - Boston at Toronto
(Tuesday, March 25th)
Final Score: Boston 6, Toronto 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Marco Sturm, David Krejci and Shawn Thornton each registered a goal and an assist and Tim Thomas was strong with 28 saves, as the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-2, in the opener of a home-and-home set at Air Canada Centre.
Glen Murray, Phil Kessel, and Jeremy Reich also scored for Boston, which snapped a three-game winless skid and will host Toronto on Thursday. The Bruins now have 86 points with six games remaining and maintained their hold of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Philadelphia. The Flyers beat the New York Rangers in overtime on Tuesday.
"We kept (pace in the race) tonight, and that was huge," said Krejci. "We've had trouble scoring lately, but all four lines skated well. We needed this win."
Jason Blake and Alexei Ponikarovsky tallied for the Maple Leafs , who saw their three-game win streak halted. Toronto, which has 80 points, is still barely alive in the playoff hunt. With five games to go in the regular season, the Leafs trail the Bruins by six points.
Vesa Toskala allowed five goals on 29 shots in the loss.
The Bruins opened the scoring with an early power-play goal at the 3:57 mark of the first period. An errant pass led to a loose puck and Matt Lashoff released a one-timer from the top of the right circle. The disc was slightly deflected by Murray in front and it trickled over the goal line.
Several minutes after Krejci gave Boston a two-goal lead 1:12 into the middle session with his fourth goal, Leafs forward Jeremy Williams hit the near post on a golden opportunity while all alone on the right side of the crease.
"We just didn't respond tonight," said Ponikarovsky. "We didn't win the battles."
At the 8:20 mark of the second, the second power-play tally of the game for the Bruins gave them a three-goal cushion. With Darcy Tucker in the penalty box for hooking, the Bruins passed around the perimeter while Sturm found open ice beneath the right circle. Krejci held control high inside the left circle and fed a perfect pass across the low slot for Sturm, who easily deposited his 25th goal from the right post.
The Leafs finally found the scoreboard with 4:30 to go in the second. Pavel Kubina carried the puck behind the net and sent a one-handed centering pass into the crease, where Blake managed to redirect it into the back of the cage.
Thornton's fourth goal early in the third took the wind from the Leafs' sails. Milan Lucic skated down the left-wing side and centered the puck for Thornton, who gained control in the low slot, deked to his backhand and lit the lamp from the top of the crease 3:05 into the final stanza.
A power-play tally by Ponikarovsky with under six minutes remaining in regulation brought the Leafs within 4-2, but less than two minutes later, at the 16:15 mark, Kessel put the game away when he cashed in from the left post after a mistake by Toskala.
"We got one near the end, but they got it right back and we just didn't play well," said Ponikarovsky.
Reich's empty-netter in the waning seconds capped the scoring.
Boston's Chuck Kobasew left the ice in the first period with an apparent lower body injury...The B's now lead the season series, 4-3, and have won six of their last eight in Toronto...Boston improved to 19-13-6 on the road this season...The Leafs have dropped five of their last seven at home...The Bruins were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Leafs ended 1-for-2 with the extra skater...Toronto captain Mats Sunding sat out his fifth straight game with a groin injury...Attendance was 19,562.
03/25 22:45:18 ET