The Toronto Maple Leafs tried to forget a recent humiliating loss to the Boston Bruins. Their coaches wouldn’t let them.
Head coach Randy Carlyle wanted to stimulate their memories about how embarrassed they were.
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The Maple Leafs turned the tables and embarrassed the Bruins in a 6-1 blowout on Wednesday night.
"The last game that we played against them, there was a lot of emotion and a lot of frustration," Carlyle said. "Our group, it was time to say, `Hey, enough is enough. This isn’t cutting it. We have to change the way we’re approaching things.’
"That’s coaching included. That was enough."
Toronto improved to 6-1-1 since that 4-1 loss on Oct. 25. The Leafs (9-5-2) even moved past the Bruins (10-7-0) in the Atlantic Division with this win.
Phil Kessel scored twice against his former team, and the Maple Leafs netted four goals during a nine-minute stretch to chase Vezina Trophy-winner Tuukka Rask.
"You know what, I haven’t scored many goals on him," Kessel said. "Tonight I was a little fortunate to get a couple past him. I don’t know."
Kessel now has 10 goals this season. Morgan Rielly, Tyler Bozak, James van Riemsdyk and Peter Holland also scored for the Maple Leafs. Jonathan Bernier was solid in making 25 saves despite not being tested much.
"I think we really felt liked we owed Boston one," said Holland, who scored his third goal in three games. "Last time they were in here, we felt a little embarrassed about our effort. We wanted to make sure we came out strong.
"A couple quick goals in the second put them back on their heels and we were just able to maintain that momentum throughout."
Rask allowed four goals on 16 shots before being replaced by backup Niklas Svedberg in the second period. Dennis Seidenberg scored Boston’s only goal.
"The only thing we did as a team — we all played poorly," center Chris Kelly said,
Boston coach Claude Julien said his team was "just terrible all around."
"We just stunk the joint out," Julien said. "We’ve got a game (Thursday night in Montreal). You certainly can’t cut down your bench when you play the next night, and even if I did, I don’t think I would’ve been able to put anybody out there that deserved to be out there."
Toronto got off to a better start than in recent days. In their previous three games, the Maple Leafs allowed a goal within the first three minutes.
Carlyle called this his team’s best start of the season.
"We were on the puck and we were skating and we were directing pucks at the net," Carlyle said. "Phil’s goal was a big goal early, and then we started out the second period the same way. We scored early."
They controlled play, and Rask prevented Bozak from scoring 52 seconds in with a stick-on-post save. Rask couldn’t do much a few minutes later when Kessel got going.
After the puck got past rookie defenseman Zach Trotman along the boards, Kessel skated down the right wing and took a perfect snap shot that went into the top corner far side at 6:46.
Toronto led 1-0 after the first and poured it on in the second. Kessel scored 18 seconds in, beating Rask glove side.
Rielly made it 3-0 at 1:34 by firing in a rebound after Holland’s shot went off Rask’s left pad.
On a power play at 3:32, Bozak scored his sixth on a give-and-go with van Riemsdyk. Rask was then pulled from the game.
Svedberg played well but was helpless on the Maple Leafs’ double-deflection, power-play goal that made it 5-0. Jake Gardiner’s shot went off Bozak and then van Riemsdyk at 9:51.
The Bruins got one back at 14:16 when Seidenberg beat Bernier with a wrist shot through traffic.
Holland added on at 7:21 of the third while Toronto was on a power play.
NOTES: Toronto D Stephane Robidas played in his 900th NHL game. He left the game briefly in the first period after blocking a shot. … With an assist on Kessel’s first goal, Cody Franson extended his point streak to five games. … Bruins C David Krejci missed his second straight game and fourth in five with an undisclosed injury. Krejci didn’t travel with the team, so he isn’t expected to play Thursday at Montreal. … Bruins D Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch for the sixth straight game.