Mired in a bit of a scoring slump, the Boston Bruins were efficient with what little offense they generated against Toronto.
Patrice Bergeron scored on one of just six shots by the Bruins in the third period, a goal that tied the score 2-2 in a game the Bruins went on to win 3-2 in shootout against the Maple Leafs on Monday night.
”We still need to be better,” said Bergeron, who also scored in the shootout. ”It was a step forward, but still we’ve got some work to do.”
The Bruins had lost three of four on a road trip that ended Saturday with a 3-2 loss at Toronto. Boston had just six goals during the four games and although the scoring didn’t pick up Monday, the Bruins’ defense did.
”They seem to be a little tired right now. That’s our assessment of our team,” coach Claude Julien said. ”We’ve got some players right now that are fighting to find their games.”
Milan Lucic also scored for Boston and Tuukka Rask came through in the third period, overtime and finally the shootout. Rask had 23 saves through regulation and overtime, then stopped Nikolai Kulemin on the Maple Leafs’ last chance to extend the shootout, which Boston led 2-1 on goals by Tyler Seguin and Bergeron.
Rask had been beaten by Kulemin on a breakaway in the second period, but stopped him this time, knocking the puck away and preserving the win for Boston. Rask said backup goalie Anton Khudobin told him to expect Kulemin to go high to the stick side.
”He made the same kind of move in that breakaway and then Anton told me that’s the only move he’s got,” Rask said. ”I hope it does good things. It was a big win for us.”
The Leafs had just ended an eight-game losing streak against the Bruins with a 3-2 win Saturday in Toronto. They couldn’t get a season series split with the Bruins, but salvaged a point out of the trip to Boston.
”We are coming out of the wrong end of it, but at the end of the day a point is a point,” said Nazem Kadri, who assisted on Kulemin’s goal in the second. ”They add up a lot quicker than no points.”
Toronto held Boston to just six shots in the third period, but Boston got a goal when Bergeron scored at 10:36.
Lucic had pulled the Bruins within 2-1 just 1:48 after Kulemin’s breakaway goal gave Toronto a 2-0 lead at 8:01 of the second.
Lucic took a pass from Rich Peverley after a turnover in the Leafs’ end and went past three Toronto players at the blue line to get in alone on James Reimer and slip the puck between his pads.
”I thought we limited their quality chances, but we gave up a few that cost us,” Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said.
Bergeron tied it 2-2 on a backhand off a pass from Dougie Hamilton. The rookie defenseman cycled behind the net and found Bergeron alone, carried the puck behind the net and spotted Bergeron alone low in the right circle.
Joffrey Lupul scored on Toronto’s first power play, giving the Leafs a 1-0 lead. Kulemin put the Leafs up 2-0 on a breakaway with 11:59 left in the second. Kadri blocked a shot, controlled the puck and spotted Kulemin streaking up the ice. The assist gave Kadri a team-high 35 points.
Notes: Lupul was returning from a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman. … The Bruins will play their fourth straight Northeast Division opponent Wednesday when they host Montreal. … Hamilton picked up his 10th career assist on Bergeron’s goal in the third.