Bruins thwart Maple Leafs again, 4-2

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald on

Published in Hockey

BOSTON — The issues facing the Bruins cannot be solved in a single game. But for one night at least, the sight of Maple Leaf blue made everything all good in the B’s world.

The B’s jumped out to three-goal lead in the second period and cruised to a 4-1 win over Toronto at Scotiabank Arena.

The Leafs, who had won nine of their last 10, had closed the gap between them and the previously sinking B’s to six points and, with another game in Boston on Thursday, had a chance to close it to a mere two points this week. But the B’s pushed the cushion back to eight points and demonstrated what they’re capable of when tey have their checking game in order.

Key to the win was the performance of the top six, who had a hand in all the goals.. David Pastrnak led the way with three assists and Pavel Zacha had a pair of goals. Jeremy Swayman nailed down the win 32 saves.

It was as good a response by the B’s as you could have hoped for.

Putting Saturday’s disaster on Long Island behind them in the first period on Monday, the B’s took a 2-0 lead on the Leafs in the opening 20. But the good things didn’t happen till the they did one they they didn’t want to do – take a penalty.

But after Kevin Shattenkirk took a high-sticking penalty, the B’s had one of their best penalty kills since they scored a pair of shorthanded goals against Vancouver back on February 8. They didn’t score on the multiple chances on the kill but they kept up the pressure when the play went back to even-strength. From the left wing, David Pastrnak sent a perfect pass down to Morgan Geekie at the top of the crease and Geekie deflected home his 14th of the year over goalie Joseph Woll at 9:43.

The B’s doubled their lead at 12:42 on the power play. Jake DeBrusk sent a puck to Pastrnak behind the net and Pastrnak in turn found Pavel Zacha in the slot. Zacha, who was a question mark heading into the game after having to leave the 5-1 loss to the Islanders with a lower body injury, ripped a wrist shot over Woll’s blocker for the 2-0 lead.


The B’s had a 13-10 shot advantage in the first, but the Leafs started to gain momentum late in the period and, after Brandon Carlo clipped Mitch Marner with a high stick with 38 second left in the period, Toronto’s power play looked much crisper than their first chance but Jeremy Swayman was able to take the 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

Th bell that ended the first period allowed the B’s regain their equilibrium and kill the rest of the penalty. Then they took a 3-0 lead at 5:07. Bobby McMann had a clean look from the riight wing that Swayman got a glove on. It rimmed around and Shattenkirk absorbed a hit to send the B’s off on a 3-on-2 that was executed flawlessly. Brad Marchand gave the puck back to Charlie Coyle on the right wing at the Toronto blue line and Coyle fed DeBrusk on the left side of the slot. The snake-bitten DeBrusk sniped a wrist shot under the bar. It was DeBrusk’s 14th of the year and just his second in 16 games.

After the DeBrusk goal, the B’s started spending too much time in their own zone and paid for it with a Mason Lohrei hooking penalty. It was a hairy kill that saw Brandon Carlo sweep a puck off the goal line and then Swayman making an awkward glove save on an Auston Matthews change-up, but the B’s survived another Toronto PP.

The B’s then got a power play of their own but, though they had good chances, they couldn’t put another goal up on the board.

The B’s had a great chance to put the hammer down early in the third when Marchand stole a puck behind the net and set up Coyle, who was stoned by Woll.

Then, after the B’s became content to dump it out, the Leafs finally got on a board when the Leafs reloaded in the neutral zone and John Tavares simply beat Swayman over the blocker with a wrist shot over the blocker at 3:52.

But at 10:35, the B’s got their three-goal lead back. Pastrnak picked up his own rebound, went behind the net and tried a wraparound that Woll stopped. Zacha, however, was at the other post to sneak the rebound home on the shortside.

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