Bruins thump Maple Leafs to snap rare 3-game skid
TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs feel like they can keep up with the NHL-leading Boston Bruins. You just have to do it for three consecutive periods.
Pavel Zacha scored twice in the third game as Boston overtook the Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday. After a scoreless first half, Toronto trailed 2-1 at the second break before the Bruins opened the game.
“I thought we were with them almost all the way,” said Leafs forward Mitchell Marner, who scored a power-play goal in the second game. “Even in the third, I don’t know if I would call it cheating but we fought hard and gave up a couple of odd chances and that cost us.”
Derek Forbort and Brandon Carlo both scored in the second half as Boston went three games without a win. AJ Greer also scored in the final period and Linus Ullmark made 33 saves.
Of the four Bruins goalscorers, only Zacha has double figures this season, with his two lifting him to 11 on Wednesday. Carlo said it’s important that Boston can count on their deep players on offense as well.
“We all want to contribute to that aspect if we can,” said Carlo, who has scored two goals this season. “It’s great when you get the result of that. I think it gives the other guys a boost too.
“We want to be a great support system for the guys who score goals all the time and occasionally do our part.”
Marner scored his 19th goal of the season for Toronto on the power play. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal in the third to keep the Maple Leafs in the game. Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots in his eighth straight game for Toronto.
Forbort scored a goal shorthanded after 6:57 in the second minute.
Marner responded 2:28 later on the power play. After a long leading pass from Samsonov off the boards, Marner ran through the faceoff left circle and flicked a shot past Ullmark to level it to 1.
Carlo restored Boston’s one-goal lead just over three minutes later, taking a pass from Hampus Lindholm and deflecting it past Samsonov from a wide angle.
Zacha’s second goal of the night came at 12:19 of the third. Just yards from Samsonov’s goal area, he fell to one knee as David Krejci found a one-way goal.
“I think that line is very dynamic,” said Bruins coach Jim Montgomery. “It’s one of the most creative lines in the league.
“(Zacha’s) a little sticky guy who has to do a lot of the dirty work, so to speak, drive the middle lane, be the first guy on the forecheck, the first guy on the backcheck.”
John Tavares celebrated his 1,000th game in the NHL with two assists in Toronto’s 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday. Timothy Liljegren decided to have a little fun at his captain’s expense after the game and awarded the team’s MVP belt to Mark Giordano instead of Tavares. Giordano said on Wednesday he had planned to give a lengthy speech to really put salt in Tavares’ wound, but looking around the room he knew he had to give the belt to the right recipient.
“The joke got to a few people and they were pretty upset that we didn’t give it to John, so I had to flip it pretty quickly,” Giordano laughed.
Bruins: After the All-Star break on Saturday, February 11, hosts the Washington Capitals.
Maple Leafs: After the All-Star break on Thursday, February 10 at the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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