Leafs earn rare win over Bruins
Toronto, ON – Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Grabovski and Frazer McLaren all scored goals and Toronto held off a late Boston comeback effort to earn a 3-2 decision at the Air Canada Centre, the Maple Leafs' first win over the rival Bruins in nearly two full years.
James Reimer came up with 31 saves to help Toronto halt a string of eight straight regulation losses to the Bruins since a 4-3 shootout triumph at TD Garden on Mar. 31, 2011, despite the Leafs being outshot by a 33-13 margin by their fellow Northeast Division inhabitants.
Boston trailed 3-0 before getting third-period goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference, the last coming with 1:16 remaining, but couldn't overcome the sizeable deficit and was dealt its third loss in its last four outings.
"The way we gave up the three goals -- they were mistakes," Boston head coach Claude Julien said.
Bruins netminder Anton Khudobin stopped only 8-of-11 shots before being pulled in favor of Tuukka Rask early in the third period.
The Leafs recorded just four shots in the first period and five in the second, but still managed to take a 2-0 lead into the final intermission by converting a couple of scoring chances and getting good work between the pipes from Reimer.
A defensive breakdown put Boston in a quick hole, as Kadri got in alone on Khudobin after receiving a pinpoint feed from Clarke MacArthur and deposited the puck in the net just 4:58 after the opening faceoff.
Toronto struck suddenly in the second as well, with Grabovski firing a wrister from the right circle that made its way through a partially screened Khudobin at the 2:52 mark of the frame.
Reimer came up with 20 stops over the initial 40 minutes and was given some additional support with another early goal in the third period, as McLaren snuck a backhander between Khudobin's pads from in close with 1:34 elapsed in the session.
"Any time you can contribute, especially on the scoresheet and it turns out to be a game-winner, it's a good confidence boost," McLaren said.
Boston finally got on the board just 56 seconds later after Seidenberg's drive from the right point crossed the goal line through traffic.
The goal appeared to give the Bruins new life, as Dougie Hamilton nearly cut Toronto's lead to one with a blast that clanked off the post less than four minutes after Seidenberg scored. Ference didn't miss on his late try, though, with the defenseman's slap shot deflecting off a Leafs defender and past Reimer to create a 3-2 game with 1:16 left.
Rask was pulled for an extra attacker with a minute to go, but Reimer preserved the win with a pair of saves in the final 12 seconds.
Hall of Famer and former Leafs captain Mats Sundin performed a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game's start ... Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk missed the game after taking a shot to the leg in Boston's win at Ottawa on Thursday. Matt Bartkowski, recalled from AHL Providence on Friday, took his place in the lineup ... Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul served the last of a two-game suspension for an illegal check on Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman in Wednesday's matchup with the Lightning ... Kadri now has three goals and six assists during a four-game point streak ... Grabovski's goal was his 14th against the Bruins for his career, his most against any opponent.